Children need to be taught from an early age that there is a consequence, be it positive or negative, to every action. These consequences, or correction, will teach children to make the right choices in the future. If children do not understand these consequences, or if they are not enforced, they cannot benefit from them. Some children need to realize that doing good things will result in positive consequences, while doing bad things will lead to negative ones. If your child doesn’t understand the concept of consequences, or punishment meted out if they do bad things, you may be able to get them to behave properly by pointing out the presence of what awaits them in consequences and withdrawal of privileges. These must inflict some measure of pain to gain results.
No child is an angel all of the time, but some children display bad behaviour more than others. If your child seems to misbehave more than is normal, especially if there is an audience, this could be the result of an diversity of issues. Try and determine what issues are at the root of the problem, so that bad behaviour can be dealt with more effectively.
For some children, misbehaving and creating a scene is a way of getting attention. Children who feel that they aren’t given enough attention, or who require more attention because of other issues in the home, may turn to tantrums and other bad behaviours to force parents to pay attention to them. In some cases, children will display attention-seeking behaviour at home to demand their parents’ attention, and sometimes they will engage in disruptive behaviour in the classroom to get the teacher’s undivided attention. Children are smart and know the time to press your buttons to get the most attention. You might be in the middle of doing something and they want your sole attention, so they start demanding your time.
While most adults have the ability to think before they act
irrationally, children do not have this skill and will act on sudden urges to get their own way. Nearly all children are impulsive, but some with disorders like ADHD, are exceedingly impulsive and impetuous. If your child doesn’t recognise wrongdoing or why he did something he knows he will be punished for, or, when queried, replies that, “ I just wanted it now” childhood spontaneity could be the force that is propelling him toward misbehaviour. Disagreements can rise out of nowhere in tantrums, upsets, and arguments that may seem to happen over small occurrences, so these characteristics in a child need to be handled with care.
Children are not born knowing how to behave. If children are not taught good behaviour, or encouraged by example, they may be apt to misbehave and do it over and over again. If you fail to create a discipline plan for your child, give them good example by how you speak and act, you may put him at a disadvantage when he goes to school. He will be required to be disciplined in the academic setting and, if he has no experience of doing what he is told, he will not know how to behave in a setting with other children. That will cause untold problems including bullying and even isolation.
Children whose behaviour is severely out of the normal acceptable activities, may suffer from a diagnosable behaviour-related disorder. The Mental Health Association reports, that between 1 and 4 per cent of all children between the ages of 7 and 17 suffer from a disorder of this type. Children who suffer from a conduct disorder may be incapable of following structured rules, or who suffer from mental issues that make following rules and expectations seven more challenging for them. If you think that your child may have a problem, voice your concerns to your paediatrician or ask your school for a psychological assessment.
Peg Hanafin, MSc 24/4/2018 wp