6-Year-Old Behavioural Problems – Warning Signs and Discipline Strategies
We love our children, and we want to give them the best upbringing so that they can grow as good and successful adults.. We want to preserve their innocence. And, it’s always fun to be around kids! They’re full of energy, curiosity, and questions, and it’s the responsibility of the parents to teach them the right things at the right time. Kids will be naughty, do and say the wrong things (and at the wrong time!), and will test your limits. So, you have to teach them right from wrong at the correct time.
If you don’t discipline children when they do something wrong, things can start getting a little out of hand. Hence, it is extremely important that you discipline your child and make it known to him what kind of behaviour is and is not expected of him. As he grows older, he will want to start asserting independence and might become rebellious. Thus, by the time he turns 6, his behaviour will be quite different from what it was when he was 2 and followed your every command.
Handling behavioural problems in a 6-year-old at home can get quite challenging in certain situations. Therefore, knowing the right way to take care of your child and not turning yourself into his enemy while you do so, is what needs to be maintained during this period. Let’s take an in-depth look at what to do and how to do it.
What Normal Behaviour Is Expected From a 6-Year-Old Child?
By the age of 6, most children are already in school, and are slowly getting used to the environment. They are in a strange phase, where they aren’t completely grown up enough to be independent yet, but also don’t like to be treated as babies.
Your child will be able to take care of certain problems himself. Indulging in various activities in school and home will form a major part of his life in these years. As he starts to get a better hang of these things, he will gradually make attempts to go beyond them unconsciously, as a natural tendency of human behaviour.
These attempts could result in some behaviour, such as your child throwing a tantrum or not cooperating, simply to get what he wants. Having grasped the basics of language, he might end up talking back to you, on lines similar to how adults converse, although this might not carry a bad connotation to it.
Sometimes, in the struggle to find their own independence, some kids end up teasing or bullying other kids, and try to prove their own self-worth through it.
Common Behaviour Problems in a 6-Year-Old Child
A bunch of behavioural problems are observed in most children of this age on a wide basis. Some of these are:
1. Back Talk
When you attempt to scold or discipline your child, he might reply with a snarky comment, or point out your mistakes.
As your child begins to learn how to say no, he might simply refuse to do a chore, or be defiant about it.
Playful bragging is one thing, but some children can go overboard with it, or may even come up with elaborate lies to hide their mistakes.
What can be done in a few minutes might take an entire hour for a child, as he simply plays around while doing a certain task, without focusing on what needs to be done.
Can Too Much Independence Lead to Behavioural Problems in a Six-Year-Old Child?
Children always feel like they want to grow up as soon as they can, which makes them crave independence. A healthy level of independence bestowed on children can help them take certain decisions by themselves, which will help them in the future, but giving them complete independence can make them rebellious.
Warning Signs That Indicate Serious Behavioural Issues
Most behavioural issues can be handled by being firm and carrying out simple disciplinary strategies. But, a few other behavioural problems require serious intervention and even counselling at times. Let’s see what these are.
1. Sexualised Behaviour
Children are curious about the opposite sex from a young age. However, if the curiosity starts morphing into a sexualised form, which manifests into obsession, aggression, sexualised behaviour, and even harm, this needs to be stopped in its tracks right away.
2. Suicidal Tendencies
Your child might be influenced by anything he sees or hears, and might start wondering about harming himself or killing himself without understanding the consequences of it. This could be fuelled by things he sees on TV or video games. If you notice this, talk to your child about it immediately, or get him some counselling if needed.
3. Constant Fights
Arguments among children are almost a daily affair, especially on playgrounds. But if your child argues to a level that he seems to have no friends, then it requires special attention on your part.
4. Troubling Behaviour at School
Some children tend to constantly misbehave at school, resulting in being punished often, berated by teachers and the principal, and fighting with other students. Take this behaviour seriously, and talk to your child right away.
5. Non-Responsive to Discipline
Most children fall in line and correct their actions once you are firm with them and administer discipline. But, if your child doesn’t respond to it, or reacts by exhibiting even worse behaviour, he may require some counselling.
6. Poor Impulse Control
This can manifest in the form of crying at the smallest reasons, hitting someone when an argument begins, or screaming at anyone who disagrees with him.
7. Emotional Problems
If your child tends to be too emotional, either as anger or sadness, or is on the opposite spectrum, in that he is generally unaffected by anything that occurs around him, it might be a cue to intervene and talk to him about it.
How to Discipline a 6-Year-Old Kid
Effectively disciplining your child without letting him hate you is an art. Don’t worry, parents – it’s an achievable goal! Here are a few strategies that can help you with this:
1. Use Tokens
Depending on how your kid behaves, you can either put in place good tokens or bad tokens, or even both, to help him be accountable for his behaviour. Reaching a certain amount of bad tokens can mean that you will put certain restrictions in place, while adding up the good tokens could open up opportunities for him to get a special treat, or get extra hours of play time, etc.
2. Let Them Experience the Consequences
Many parents rush to shield their children from the consequences of their own actions. While this might be necessary in extreme cases, it is necessary for children to learn from their mistakes, and know what consequences or harm their actions can cause in real life. Small actions, like failing to pack a biscuit even while constantly telling so, could result in him staying hungry for a longer time, which can make him remember to do so henceforth.
3. Discipline Correctly
The restrictions or punishments you give your child have to make sense and be based on the context of his behaviour. Not serving him his favourite snack because he played a video game for long hours doesn’t translate the disciplinary message to him in the appropriate manner. Instead, you can restrict your child’s video game timings for the week, and ask him to use those hours properly. If he uses them up before the week is over, he cannot play video games for the remaining days.
4. Use Actionable Statements
The way you present a problematic behaviour to your child governs how your child responds. Instead of telling him he can’t play outside because his homework is incomplete, tell him that he should complete his homework first, so that he can then enjoy playing football with his friends.
5. Give Disciplinary Breaks
If your child is just being unruly for no reason, either ground him for some time or put him on a break from all activities for a specified duration. This way, he will get the message, and won’t behave in such a manner again.
6. Encourage Good Behaviour
Recognise your child’s attempts to be better, the efforts he takes to complete his tasks, or go beyond what’s needed. This will help him be motivated to keep up his good behaviour, and will eventually help him lead his life without any worries.
Dealing with behavioural problems in a 6-year-old child is not an easy task. Being a caring parent plus a strict disciplinarian is a dual role that is quite difficult for most to adhere to. Remembering to keep loving and caring for your child even when he is being difficult, can help soften the blow of the punishments, and keep your bond strong throughout.
Also Read: 7 Year Old Behaviour Problems and Disciplining Strategies