Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sometimes We Forget

Some Reasons Kid's Misbehave

I was sitting in a McDonald's on an outing with my kid's one day and I overheard a mom talking to her 3 year old daughter as she wiped her little girl's nose. She was saying, "You've been giving me such a hard time all day, I don't know why you're being such a brat today." I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from saying anything.

Meanwhile I thought, "I wonder what this mom would act like if she had a bad cold and someone was dragging her all over town all day." I see it all the time, parents dragging their kid's everywhere while being oblivious to the fact that the child is tired, hungry or sick, or maybe just needs some down time.  We always have so much to do and so little time.

A Little Bit of Empathy Goes a Long Way

There are times when kid's will just be naughty because they are immature, but many times we also have to be aware of the other circumstances influencing their behavior. For example, if there have been a lot of changes or difficulties at home or at school this can result in bad behavior. Your child can not tell you that they are stressed out, even adults sometimes have trouble identifying sources of underlying stress. 

In the normal course of growing up children will have emotional reactions that they don't quite understand so they can't really explain. For example, at times they may feel discouraged, rejected, unloved, inadequate or incapable (no matter how much you love them). This may result in being grouchy, moody, irritable and complaining. Going through struggles and feeling these types of emotions is a normal part of life, so they will need to learn how to deal with these feelings. We can help them by having empathy, but also helping them learn to express how they feel with words, and to make positive choices that will help them feel better.

My oldest son was so stressed out after his first few days at kindergarten that he started hitting his little sister the minute he got in the car. I said, "Well if this is what school does to you I think it's not worth it, we'll just stop going." He was surprised and looked at me and said, "I'm thirsty and hungry". I said, "Okay, that's all you had to say, now tell your sister you're sorry." I also told him it was normal to feel tired and cranky after such a busy day at school, but that it's not fair to take our feelings out on other people. After that I always brought food & drinks when I picked him up from school, and I asked his sister not to hug him or play with him until we got home.

Unusual Circumstances

How do you feel when you are in an unfamiliar situation, around people you don't know and you are not sure of what's going on? As an adult you may watch people, ask questions, or try to figure out what you should do in this situation. Children haven't learned to do that yet. They may ask lots of questions that annoy you or they may misbehave. They don't know what the guidelines are unless you've warned them ahead of time. They don't know the environment may not be child friendly. They don't know how to deal with boredom and they want to play.

Not knowing what is appropriate at a particular time & place (like going out to dinner), feeling a little insecure and wanting your attention (at the doctor's office), or getting different messages from too many different people (mom, dad, caregiver, grandparent, friends) can all create confusion and be a set up for poor behavior. So what's a parent to do? Can you remember how to behave toward your child in all these situations? It's not easy for parents either.

There Is A Time & Place For Everything

That's what kids need to learn. I think the best way to deal with most of these situations is to reassure your child that you understand how they are feeling, use words to label their feelings and look for affirmation. Then briefly explain the behavior you expect in that situation, and the consequence if they don't behave well. Also reassure them that the circumstances will be over soon and they will be able to go home.

Another good idea is to avoid behavior problems by avoiding the situations that cause them whenever possible while they are very young. Of course you don't want to over protect them because they need to learn how to behave in public (as well as at home), but sometimes it's just not the best day to go shopping, or to McDonald's.


  1. Hi Cheryl, stop by from love this post, I do sometimes feel that way with two toddler boys running around all over me everyday, but everyday I always try to learn from my mistakes and try to be a better mom, thank you so much for the post. I am on my way to Alexa for a review, and just liked your page..thank you for following CuteCoconut on Networked blog.

  2. Wonderful post. We do tend to forget that children have feelings and moods just like us adults. We always expect them to be happy little kids who behave with proper decorum. Thank you for reminding us to address the reason for their misbehavior and not to label them as brats.

    Thank you for visiting! Followed you on GFC as crazyme and liked your FB page as well. Have a great weekend!

  3. This was a great reminder for mothers to think about what might be going on in our children's heads. Ironically, we so often think about what we need to do for our children, that we forget about our children. I have a post where I lament that the only thing stopping me from being a fabulous mother is my children!

    Thanks for stopping by from the FNF blog hop. New follower!

    -Keesha at


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