Children Misbehave When…

[original author unknown (to me)]

Children’s actions show how they feel. Difficult behavior is often an emotional reaction gone off course. Behind every behavior is a feeling/emotion. Children who feel bad are likely to behave badly. Children who feel good are likely to be good.

Children misbehave when:

  • They act out feelings inappropriately (scared, insecure, sad, angry, excited, jealous, worried, frustrated, confused);
  • They are bored, tired, ill, hungry, too many expectations on them, feel misunderstood;
  • They need attention or feel unwanted;
  • A consequence is too sever, may seek vengeance;
  • Your requests are unclear, unrealistic, or not age appropriate;
  • Suffering a blow of self-esteem;
  • There are too many rules and not enough routines, rules are too rigid;
  • They want their own way and you refuse to give in to an inappropriate request; and/or
  • They are are exploring their world and do not realize their behavior is inappropriate.

I would classify myself and my husband as “Authoritative” parents. We are not authoritarian, where rules are unclear and extremely rigid. Nor are we laissez-faire parents who began free range parenting at infancy. We do not grasp fully onto certain concepts of peaceful parenting, as we generally feel that there is some value to instilling respect through some fear.

Regardless of our parenting style, our choice of using time outs, our choice of not eliminating spankings, our choice of making Levi do lines – all as consequences to his own bad choices, we are a part of the growing paradigm of “feelings based” parenting. It’s not new, other cultures have been treating child rearing this way for millennium.

What do you do, though, when your child acts out? Are you more inclined to give time outs? Do you talk about feelings? How do you negotiate parenting?