Why Children Act Up! And What You Might To Do About It…

Raising children is one of the most challenging things you can ever do.  Sometimes, they are your little angels and other times, your little devils. The most difficult thing may be identifying what causes each behavior.  It would make things a lot easier around your house if you knew exactly what to do to raise the perfect child, wouldn’t it?

Well, while there is no “perfect formula,” there are known (and common) reasons why some children misbehave. Just knowing and understanding these reasons can go a long way to creating a well-balanced child… and giving you some sanity!

The first and possibly biggest reason children misbehave is simply because they are trying to figure out the whole new and enormous world around them. The way they do this is to TEST BOUNDARIES.  As they develop, they will test or push whatever boundaries and limitations their parents have established.  Unfortunately, many times, limitations and boundaries are weak – if existent at all.  Boundaries must be strong and enforced CONSISTENTLY.  A lack of consistency leads to a confused (and difficult) child. Since consistency is probably the most important factor, any difference between boundaries you set and your children have at school can cause a problem.  Without consistency, children do not feel safe and comfortable.  The world around them becomes a very strange and uninviting place.  The end result is a greater level of testing of boundaries and increased stress.

This can also occur with separated or divorced parents.  Oftentimes a “good cop – bad cop” dynamic takes place.  One parent tries to set and enforce the rules, while the other is the “fun” parent who gives the child anything they want in an attempt to win them over.  The child usually favors this parent in the short term, but ends up with behavior problems.

The best thing to do is talk to your children’s teachers and find out what is going on.  The same holds true with separated parents.  Although easier said than done, children must be put first. Also, make sure your expectations are within your child’s developmental stage.  In other words, do not expect a 2 year old to have the attention span of a 5 or 6 year old. Make sure your children understand what is expected of them. Children are much more likely to act up when they are hungry, tired or bored… so, make sure you have a daily routine that meets all these needs.  It is much easier to stay ahead of these basic needs than try to play catch-up once it is too late.

One of the most important things to remember is that children mimic the behavior of their parents.  “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t cut the mustard.  If you don’t want your kids to yell or swear but you and your spouse yell and swear at each other frequently, then you are in for a long, hard parenting road.

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