Our kids misbehaving can drive us up the wall, however, most of the time they are actually just normal developmental acts of growing up. So, before you go crazy with stress, it might be worth thinking it’s just a normal reaction to growing up and not your kid purposely making your life hell.
These unwelcome behaviours could be due to environmental conditions, their developmental stages or, God forbid, our own actions. So, here’s how to respond with compassion and get to the root of your kid’s crazy behaviour.
1.) Can’t control their impulses
There’s always that infuriating moment when you tell your kids not to throw something or eat something and they just GO AHEAD AND DO IT ANYWAY. Well, before you scream internally, it has been found that brain regions that teach ‘self-control’ have not fully developed at birth. This explains the lack of children’s ability to actually listen and NOT do something.
Whereas, in truth, it’s us parents overestimating our children’s brain development. 56% of parents said that children under 3 should be able to resist the urge to do something forbidden. However, children don’t master this skill until 3 or 4!
So, next time your child ignores you and throws their plate of food onto the floor, try to respond with compassion, they don’t understand how to not follow their impulses at this age.
2.) Suffer from overstimulation
In one single morning, we might take our kids to a busy shopping mall, to the park, to breakfast, to another country on holiday, you know the drill. Due to these INSANE levels of activity, our kids are likely to be hyperactive, have multiple meltdowns and just resist us in general.
Sadly, 28% of Americans always feel rushed and 45% report having no excess time. Parenting author, Kim John Payne, tells us that children react with stress when overstimulated with too much activity, choice and even toys! Kids need more downtime to enjoy their up time.
So, try building in more quiet downtime into your child’s day, then they can enjoy activities and play time so much more and so can you!
3.) Physical needs affect children’s moods
I think we’ve all experienced being ‘hangry’ or snapping at everyone after no sleep. Unfortunately, for kids AND us, they are affected ten times more when hungry, thirsty, tired or sick.
When tired, hungry or ill, kids really struggle to manage their emotions and behaviour. So, they often become more difficult an hour before meals or just before bedtime, as parents will know!
As adults, we can help them with a snack or a nap to keep their behaviour in check. Prepare them for routines and schedule changes, it will make your life much easier!
4.) They can’t control their big emotions
As adults, we know how to control our emotions and tend to push down and ignore the big emotions, nothing like ignoring our feelings! Kids, however, feel EVERYTHING and have to deal with it in that very moment rather than ignoring it until convenient.
So, as parents, we should let those feelings be, let your kid scream, cry and yell! Once those big emotions are gone they will feel much better.
5.) Kids NEED loads of movement
We are constantly shouting at our poor kids to sit still, stop running around the table, stop chasing their siblings and stop dabbing or flossing, please, please stop dabbing and flossing…
Well, I’ll have you know that kids actually have a developmental need for A LOT of movement. They NEED to run around outside, play football and ride bikes.
So, if your kid is acting extra energetic, don’t tell them off. Just take them to the park or something!
6.) Kids are defiant
Kids will ALWAYS have an argument or answer for everything. It could be minus 100 degrees out there and your kid will insist on wearing shorts. However, kids are just trying to understand things and act independently.
Yes, its incredibly annoying when your kid shaves off their own hair and you TOLD them to go to the hairdresser but it’s important to let them carry out their own ideas. Unless it’s dangerous of course. Letting them try will teach them what works and what doesn’t.
7.) Best traits can trip them up
Our biggest strengths often reflect our weakness. In my case, I’m amazing at eating but it makes me put on weight, you see my problem?
Well, kids are exactly the same! They may love school but when they mess up on a test, it really gets to them. Or, they may be really safe and so resistant new, different activities.
It’s important to realise that recognizing unwelcome behaviours as they flip side of their strengths will help us to be much more understanding and will allow us to find a solution much quicker.
8.) Kids NEED to play
When your kid paints their face with their ice cream or puts on your high heels and runs around the house just before you are about to go out, it IS incredibly annoying. However, these are just ways our kids try to play with us.
If you don’t play with your kids enough, they will try to play at the most inconvenient times but that’s not their fault, it’s in their nature. So, build more play into their daily lives and you will BOTH be much more chilled out.
9.) They are hyperaware
Unfortunately, kids can be hyperaware and pick up on other people’s moods or vibes. Kid’s will model off our moods. If you are moody and stressed, so are your kids. If you are happy and calm, so are your kids.
Watch your tone and emotions around your kids. Don’t behave in a way that you wouldn’t want to be copied!
10.) They struggle with inconsistencies
One night, an hour before dinner you let your kid have a snack and the next night you don’t. What happens? They will scream and whine because you let them last time.
When parents are inconsistent, the kids respond with anger and frustration because they simply cannot understand why they aren’t allowed what you gave them last time!
Kids want and need to know what to expect. Attempt to be 100% consistent with rules and boundaries. You will notice a SERIOUS improvement in your child’s behaviour. You can thank me later.
11.) Throw a tantrum at every decision you make
Sometimes no matter WHAT you decide your child will have a tantrum. Going to the park? They don’t want to. Seeing relatives? No thanks. Giving them a chocolate cake? Even THAT sometimes is wrong.
Children like to make their own decisions and it’s important for you to let them decide. You can ask them certain questions like, “Would you like to wear the green shirt or the yellow shirt today?” or, “Would you like to make mommy a tea or coffee?” (I wish). This way, they will feel like they have made the decision and so will be happy with ANY outcome.
Kids are the light in our lives and it’s important to understand how stressful growing up can be! So, next time you are internally screaming over your kid’s behavior, take a moment to realise that it’s completely normal and they don’t mean it. Really.