February 16, 2017
Why do Children really misbehave?
I take a great interest in child psychology, and what makes children tick. A recent article I read surrounding behaviour patterns got me thinking about how we can help our children to deal with these moments when a battle ensues between parent and child, yet neither one knows why or how to stop it. When a child doesn’t feel a strong sense of belonging they will act in ways that they (mistakenly) believe will give them the emotional connection and positive attention they crave.
Children and adults have a need for belonging and significance. Belonging refers to the emotional connection and positive attention we need with one another. Significance refers to one’s sense of autonomy. Think of it as a form of possessing personal power. Without both of these needs being met, children will misbehave.
A strategy taken from Amy McCready’s ‘Positive Parenting Solutions’ is something we call ‘The 5 R’s’. It is all about the use of effective consequences, and teaching children to make better choices.
The 5 R’s:
R: Respectful – do not inflict shame or blame on a child. Instead teach him/her to be respectful and to make a better choice in the future.
R: Related to the Misbehaviour – for children to learn they first have to understand their misbehaviour. They also need a consequence that is related to the misbehaviour and one that they can understand. ‘A consequence of throwing a puzzle piece at your brother is to not play with that puzzle for the rest of the day.’
R: Reasonable in duration based on the child’s age.
R: Revealed in Advance – The consequence must be revealed to a child in advance so that he/she can choose between the appropriate behaviour and the consequence.
R: Repeated back to you – Ask children to repeat back to you what the rules/consequences are. Use simple language, the more simple the language the better the understanding.