10 Effective Tips to Deal With a Naughty Child

10 Helpful Tips for Parents to Handle Naughty Kids

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Rashmi Prakash (Psychologist/Psychotherapist)
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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 behavior of your child. But there is no need to worry or lose patience. Once you understand where this naughty behavior 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 Behavior in a Child

Mentioned below are a few causes of naughty behavior 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 are 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 over-stimulation (it could be because of socialising or physical activity), his behavior may change. He may throw tantrums or be hyperactive. When kids have a good balance of activity and rest in their lives, this behavior 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 sleeping or taking a nap, this is a sign that he needs to burn off some energy.

Two kids fighting

7. Inconsistency

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 behavior towards your child, he may mirror the same behavior. If you are calm and patient around them, they 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 his parents. It’s a sign of attention-seeking behavior 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 behavior. It is important to know their strengths when dealing with their naughty behavior.

How a Child’s Naughtiness Affects Parents?

Parents may find it incredibly frustrating to manage a child’s naughty behavior. But sometimes it is the behavior of the parents themselves that bring about a child’s naughty behavior. A child’s naughtiness can make a parent feel:

  • Annoyed
  • Helpless
  • Worn out
  • Frightened
  • Sympathetic

How to Deal With a Naughty Child?

There are a few simple guidelines for you to help you handle your naughty children. 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 behavior.

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 that your child should do. Give him a little independence with regard to choosing his own clothes or deciding how he would like to drink milk.

A mother and son having breakfast

4. Limit Screen Time

Watching cartoons constantly without any limitation can increase agitation in children, making them over-excited and prone to naughty behavior. 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 behavior. 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 behavior 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 behavior 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 behavior.

A mom listening to her child

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 behavior 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.


1. How do I encourage good behavior in a child who is prone to being naughty?

You can encourage good behavior by acknowledging and rewarding good behavior with praise, attention, or small incentives. Set clear expectations and be consistent in enforcing rules and consequences. Guide the child toward more appropriate activities when they display naughty behavior.

2. What role does positive communication play in handling naughty behavior in kids?

Communicating openly creates a trusting relationship with the child. Understand the reasons behind the behavior by actively listening to the child’s thoughts and feelings. Use positive language to encourage the child to express themselves and make better choices.

3. Should I punish my child for every instance of naughty behavior?

Avoid punishing for every instance; focus on addressing patterns or more serious behaviors. Use consequences as opportunities for learning rather than punitive measures. Discuss the reasons for the punishment, ensuring the child understands the connection between behavior and consequences.

Your own behavior will be a mirror of your child’s behavior, so make sure your behavior 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.

Also Read:

How to Handle a Difficult Child?
How to Handle Kids Who Talk Back?
How to Deal with a Stubborn Child?
Common Parenting Issues Faced and Their Solutions

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