Sometimes kids are just acting up, but experts say that’s less common than we think.
Most parents have been there, the kids are pitching a fit maybe dramatically throwing their tiny bodies on the floor in a tantrum. We don’t like to admit it, but sometimes theses beautiful gems of joy can really make you rethink your decisions in life, temporarily. We love them after all.
Children don’t realize it but at some point, they’ve made you feel like you are a complete failure. First let me say, you’re not, there is no go-to guide. What if their behavior had more to do with them than anything else?
Everything is an opportunity to play.
As the adult we constantly do what needs to be done, whether we want to or not, we take shower that shower or brush our teeth without incident. Children, on the other hand, can take this process to a whole new level. Maybe you’re trying to get you son dressed and he sees this as an opportunity to bolt off in a naked rain-dance, our instincts say to chase him. Where that seems frustrating to us looks totally like play to kids. Children strive for the opportunity to find play in any situation.
Try taking a deep breath and not chasing them. Better yet, play! Life is so short not to play with your kids. A few seconds of tickle time, even when running late, can defuse the situation. You should know that they won’t be ready to get dressed right away, but they will definitely enjoy it more.
Little ones have NO feeling filter.
By feeling filter I mean- every emotion is raw and extreme for them. As adults we know, most of us anyway, how to tame that urge to scream. For children, they are still developing coping skills and they need more time to practice what you’ve taught them.
Just remember, it’s like constantly training a new coworker, they will get it eventually. Sure, it sucks but, in the end, you get to say “I taught her everything she knows”. Make sure you stay consistent as inconsistency affects a child’s ability to retain information.
The ‘hangry’ child.
Even us adult get impatient when we are hungry. Kids are the same way but more dramatic about it. Physical issues such as hungry, tired, uncomfortable or even sick, sort can cause ‘bad’ behavior. Acting out, a nice way of putting it can sometimes be a camouflage of a physical discomfort.
When they are infants it’s easy to discover what’s making them cry, (Do they smell? Has it been two hours already??) but as soon as babies figure out crying sparks a response from you, It’s on. That reaction carries over into their childhood. A lot of the time when they are acting out it’s because they NEED something and lack the proper skills to understand what they are upset about.
The issue is with their brains.
No, really it is, the region responsible for self-control is underdeveloped from the start. In fact, children don’t start to master self-control until around the age of four. That’s right, like the many cats of the internet, even when you tell them not to knock the glass of the table- they can’t help it. It just had to be done, their compulsive mind said so!
It’s OK though, think of it as they haven’t discovered gravity yet. Their minds are desperately trying to understand the laws of cause-and-effect, in a much less technical way. Sometimes YOU are their test subject and they need to know how their subject will react. Think of it as– you are raising a scientist, it can help to take the sting out of your reaction.
The grocery-store melt down.
Maybe your kids are angels at home but in public they become demons. It is oh so hard pushing a buggy around while this tiny human is screaming in your face, especially with people watching! As parents this is our least-shining moment mostly because you feel like people are judging you, they totally are too. It’s so easy to know what to do when you’re not the one in the situation, right? Not.
The truth is, especially nowadays, everyone is an “expert” at life. Not only is that not true it’s not fair, just know that truly none of them are perfect, I don’t care what they say, so ignore them. In these moments it is just you and your child!
When your mini-me decides to melt down in public for no apparent reason, the cause may just be they’re overstimulated. Most of us aren’t world travelers who have their children in new environments every day, the little guys just don’t know how to deal with all this “new” around them. You can try to work on this with them by taking them out more but most parents don’t have that kind of time.
Kim John Payne, Author of “Simplicity Parenting“, Says giving your little ones more playtime, quiet time and rest can greatly improve their behavior in public. It could be worth trying.
At the end of the day, no one knows your children better than you. Over the years I’ve been given a boat-load of advice that didn’t work and had to find my own ways of doing things, I expect the same goes for most people. Understanding why kids do what they do is just the best place to start.
Even with all of the above information, sometimes kids just act out. A good bit of the time they want attention, sometimes there are other reasons. As parents we try to do our absolute best, sometimes that’s not good enough and we have to learn to accept it and come up with the best solutions we can.
Just remember, you are good enough.