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As parents, your tolerance level will be tested if you have a ‘naughty’ child. If your child runs around and screams or cries or shouts at the top of his lungs if his demands are not fulfilled, you’re likely to lose your cool and scold him. You may also wonder what you did wrong that resulted in such behaviour of your child. But there is no need to worry or lose patience. Once you understand where this naughty behaviour comes from and stop blaming yourself, you can address the issue in a far more constructive and compassionate manner. Let’s look at how you can deal with your naughty child.
Common Causes of Naughty Behaviour in a Child
Mentioned below are a few causes of naughty behaviour in a child:
1. Developing Brains
In our frustration, we often forget that young children’s brains are still developing. Skills like self-regulation develop in children after careful and consistent efforts by the parents. So if your child doesn’t listen to your warning and throws tantrums or disobeys you, it may be because the area of his brain which is involved with self-control isn’t fully developed yet. Patience and consistent efforts is required from your side.
2. Physical Effects
Hunger, thirst, sleep deprivation, or sickness can affect even adults in many ways and make them irritable. And for kids, these effects are double-fold. So if they are tired or hungry or have too much sugar, they tend to be more active and act out as a consequence.
3. Too Much, Too Fast
It is vital to keep your child’s body and mind active, but this has to be balanced with proper rest, too. Sometimes when your kid feels stressed due to the over-stimulation (it could be because of socialising or physical activity), his behaviour may change. He may throw tantrums or be hyperactive. When kids have a good balance of activity and rest in their lives, this behaviour will lessen.
4. Need for Independence
As parents, you may want your child to be independent, but you may get annoyed when your child actually strives to do things alone. So when your toddler is stubborn about choosing his own outfit and ends up going to school wearing something outlandish, try and be patient. Understand that no matter how silly or wrong the decision seems, he is just learning to be independent.
5. Overwhelming Emotions
Powerful emotions like fear, sadness, or frustration can take a toll on children, as they are not used to them and don’t have developed mechanisms for coping with such emotions at a young age. So when children are overwhelmed, they may throw temper tantrums, shout, cry, or be difficult. These are the ways how children express their feelings. If your child throws a fit or shouts or cries, you must support him during this time and teach him how to deal with his emotions. Do not shout at your child in such situations, talk in a gentle and even tone.
6. The Need to Burn Off Their Energy
Kids often have a lot of energy they need to burn off. They constantly need physical activity like riding bikes, running or playing outside. So if your child is fidgeting and is active at a time when he is supposed to be doing sleeping or taking a nap, this is a sign that he needs to burn off some energy.
Every family has certain ground rules for kids that they are expected to adhere to. If your child has no rules to follow or if you are lenient with the rules you have set for your child, your child may get frustrated and act naughtily. So be consistent when setting rules and expectations for your child. He will respond and behave better when he knows what is expected of him.
8. Your Mood
Human beings generally are affected by the moods of people around them. So, if you display negative or angry behaviour towards your child, he may mirror the same behaviour. If you are calm and patient around them, he will display the same around you.
9. Love for Play
If your kid plays pranks like hiding your shoes before you go out or hiding the car keys, it is because he has an inherent love for playing, especially with parents. It’s a sign of attention-seeking behaviour and you must understand that your child wants you to spend time with him.
10. Different Characteristics
Everyone has different qualities, strengths, and weaknesses. Some people are motivated and focused while others are compassionate. It is the same with kids, and that might influence their behaviour. It is important to know their strengths when dealing with their naughty behaviour.
How a Child’s Naughtiness Affects Parents
Parents may find it incredibly frustrating to manage a child’s naughty behaviour. But sometimes it is the behaviour of the parents themselves that bring about a child’s naughty behaviour. A child’s naughtiness can make a parent feel:
- Worn out
How to Deal With a Naughty Child
There are a few simple guidelines for you to help you handle your naughty child. Here are a few tips for dealing with naughty kids:
1. Fix Limits
Don’t accept everything your child says. Set limits and don’t put the responsibility of deciding what he needs and doesn’t need entirely on him. Be firm but gentle if he throws tantrums, then tell him that he won’t just get what he wants with such behaviour.
2. Be Consistent
Don’t treat your children differently every day. If one day you are firm with your child and lenient the next day, he won’t take you seriously. For instance, if one day you don’t allow him to watch TV for long, and the next day you let him watch all he wants just because you are busy and want him to keep quiet, it will send out a mixed message to your child. So be consistent in setting and following rules.
3. Give Your Child Some Independence
Don’t dictate every last thing what your child should do. Give him little independence with regards to choosing his own clothes or deciding how he would like to drink milk.
4. Limit Screen Time
Watching cartoons constantly without any limitation can increase agitation in children, making them over-excited and prone to naughty behaviour. So set limits on how long your child can watch TV or play games on the computer.
5. Define Consequences
Let your child know about the consequences of his naughty behaviour. He needs to know that he will get into trouble if he throws tantrums or shouts for no reason. Tell him that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable.
6. Stand Strong in the Face of a Tantrum
If your child has been crying continuously for long, you may be tempted to give in to his demands. But don’t fulfil his demands every time he cries or throws a fit, as it will only spoil him in the long run. He will think that by crying or shouting he can get anything, so learn to ignore his cries. He will stop crying on his own.
7. Pay Attention
Sometimes children display naughty behaviour because they want their parents’ attention. Learn to listen to your child calmly, ask him why he is acting that way and what can you do to make it stop. Your child will respond well to your considerate behaviour.
8. Don’t Scream
Don’t lose your temper and shout back at your child, this is counter-productive as it will make him stop his tantrum for the time being, but he will also learn to mimic you in the future.
9. Don’t Take Out Your Anger on Your Child
When you are in a bad mood, and your child is not behaving properly, don’t take out your negative emotions on him. If you shout at your child when he is not at fault, he will get angry at you and may misbehave. Stay calm and handle the situation with patience. Children are impressionable; your calm behaviour will be noted by your child and he will learn to stay calm in moments of anger by merely observing you.
10. Set a Regular Routine
When your child has holidays from school, set a regular timetable for him. That will set laws to live by, and your child won’t feel compelled to misbehave as he will have a solid routine to follow. Set a fixed sleeping and eating routine too.
Your own behaviour will be a mirror to your child’s behaviour, so make sure your behaviour is ideal for him to follow. Do not be too strict on him as this will make him naughty and nervous as he will not understand your feelings and your expectations of him. Being clear and transparent with your child will go a long way in making sure that he doesn’t act naughty all the time. Cherish, love and respect your child and he will respond in kind.