It has been truly said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.” Children are after all the future of every nation, and if brought up well, they will contribute in a positive manner towards the society. Bringing up a child is not a child’s play. It is the responsibility of each parent to teach the child to be a good human being. Having said that, we all do know that children can be the devil incarnate at times. It is the most normal situation for a child to be naughty at times, or throw a tantrum, or to behave badly. However, if your child seems to be behaving badly more than normal, then this deviance could be because of a number of issues which require to be dealt with immediately. Here are a few pointers as to why your child may be misbehaving:
- Attention Seeking
In this age, where in most cases both the parents are working and families are gravitating towards a nuclear set up; the child may be seeking attention. In such cases, the child will behave badly just for the purpose of attention. It is the inability to express their emotions that causes them to express themselves in a rowdy manner.
- Impulsiveness and Curiosity
This is indeed a very dangerous combination. Some children want to find the answer to the questions in their mind by acting on it. Like what would happen if they dumped the goldfish in to the toilet and flushed it down. All children are impulsive but some are more. And the bad behaviour becomes a menace when the child does not know that it is doing something wrong, and thus the child tends to repeat the impulsive behaviour time and again. The child here is in the process of learning on its own.
- Sudden Changes
Children are more comfortable in a set routine. Any drastic change in their lifestyle will result in them behaving differently and in most cases badly. A child may become loud, aggressive, defiant or noncompliant in situations like a death of a close family member, or the sudden entry of a new sibling, change of school or neighbourhood.
- Bullying or Abuse
When a child is scared because of having been bullied or abused, it may act out either by becoming withdrawn and sullen, or by displaying its fears in a passive aggressive and manipulative way. The child’s insecurity will end up making it destructive or verbally assertive.
- Learning Disabilities or Mental Disorders
If your child’s behaviour is severely deviant from the norm, there is a possibility that the child may be suffering from a diagnosable behaviour-related disorder. Certain disorders make the child incapable of following the structured rules and thus they end up misbehaving. Some children may also have learning disability, which makes it difficult for them to keep up with their peer group. A feeling of inadequacy and ineptitude makes such children defiant and non-compliant.
- Lack of Discipline
If there is a lack of a discipline plan at home, the child fails to understand the norms of behaviour when out in the world like in school or playing in the park. The child will not be equipped to know how to behave and thus end up misbehaving.
Where Parents go wrong?
- Parents should not discipline the children too frequently and never in front of others. This will make the children under confident and they will never be able to stand up for themselves.
- When parents are not physically affectionate enough, it makes the child seek attention.
- Parents should not keep advising the children which will result in poor self esteem. Advice is important, but not all the time. Encouragement will work wonders.
- Not learning to say No is a very big mistake made by most parents. From the very beginning the child should know that it cannot have everything.
- Do not make all the decisions for your child. It may be as simple as selecting the flavour of an ice-cream, but let your child make the decision and then stay by it.
- Parents themselves sometimes misbehave. Children learn very fast. They are observing you all the time. Behave in a manner you expect your child to behave.
- Make your child strong by letting it solve its own problems. Do not be over-protective and try to make life easy for your child by intervening every time to remove obstacles.
- Parents should not over-react to a child’s mistake. This will result in your child lying to avoid a confrontation in future.
- Parents must never ever compare a child to another. Every child is unique and comparison will end up sowing the seed of jealousy in the child.
- Parents must understand the child is an entity on its own. The child has feelings. If you do not respect the child’s feelings, the child will never be sensitive to what others feel.
Helping a Child Back on Track
- Be generous with your praises and parsimonious with criticism. Pay attention to your child. Listen to what the child has to say. Pay respect to what the child is feeling.
- Communicate with the child. When the child has someone to talk to, the child will learn to question you for the answers it is seeking instead of engaging in impulsive and destructive behaviour.
- Lay a set rule and discipline at home which should be followed by the child as well as the parents. This will equip the child to face the rules and regulations of the school and the society.
- If there is going to be a sudden change in the child’s life, prepare the child for it. For e.g. tell the child about the new sibling that may be arriving, or discuss the reason for the change of school or neighbourhood.
- When the child is hyper-active, try to channelize the energy towards some creative art form.
- If you feel the child has suddenly turned aggressive or has become withdrawn, communicate! Talk to the child to find what the problem could be. Let the child know that you are there to help if needed. That you have faith and trust in what the child has to say. In case of abuse or bullying, communication works wonders for the child opens up and shares the agony it is going through.
Parents’ instincts are indeed wondrous. You know your child. If you feel the child may be suffering from some disorder or a learning disability, seek medical help immediately. There is no doubt about the fact that parenting requires skill and patience. You be your child’s best friend. Respect the ideas of your child, value its opinions, and work along with the child towards making him or her a good human being and a responsible citizen of the nation.