- Children are born with different unique temperaments. Some are calm , others active, some loners and others want people around them;
- A child inherits certain traits from parents, something that cannot be changed;
- The environment in which the child grows up also has an influence on the development;
- The first child growing up with a young inexperienced parent will probably be very different from the younger child now raised by an older more experienced parent;
- Cultural views about the roles of boys and girls vary, however, cultural differences can never be an excuse for children’s misbehaviour;
- Certain skills and behaviour can be expected at different ages. Each child develops at his/her own rate. A stage is however not an excuse for misbehaviour. E.g. the terrible two’s. Limits and expectations are important in parenting.
UNDERSTANDING WHY MY CHILD MISBEHAVE?
Children need to belong to feel they are accepted. Sometimes they try to belong by misbehaving. When children misbehave, they get attention and feel they belong. They want to belong, but they do not believe they can belong in useful ways. They find that misbehaviour pays off. It helps them feel that they belong.
WHAT DOES A CHILD WANT TO GET OUT OF OF MISBEHAVING ?
- All children need attention, but some children want attention all the time. If they believe they can’t get it in useful ways, they seek it by misbehaving. They will do something to annoy the parent. The parent steps in to correct the misbehaviour and the child gets the attention he/she wants.
- Some children believe they can belong only by being the boss. They seek the goal of power. “You can’t make me!” This behaviour makes the parent feel angry. The parent fights with the child. The child fights back. If the parent gives in, the child wins the power struggle.
- Some children want to be the boss, but can’t win in a power struggle with their parents. They decide that the way to belong is to get even. To take revenge. They say or do something hurtful. The child stares angrily at the parent. Both parent and child feel angry and hurt.
- Some children just feel inadequate. They belong by getting others to leave them alone. Their behaviour says: “I can’t do it.”