Misbehaving Children

The Parents’ Role When Children Misbehave
There are many reasons why children sometimes behave unacceptably. This short list may draw an “aha” from many of you as you strive to develop positive values and lifestyle patterns within your family. How we respond to children influences how often and in what way they may repeat the behavior.


Children get frustrated
Jeremy might throw a tantrum at the grocery store simply because he’s tired, hungry, or physically ill. When children feel frustrated, they act out.

The parents’ role is to take care of all their child’s physical needs.

Children do not always understand expectations
Carla, age two, may throw her spaghetti on the floor simply to see what will happen. If the behavior is met with a low keyed “Now we have to clean it up and you have to help,” she is more likely to learn what is acceptable. If the behavior is met with shouting and threats, she may repeat the behavior later to get attention.

The parents’ role is to explain expectations (many times).

Children want power and control
An important step for a child in gaining independence is to gain control over the environment. But in the interest of keeping children safe and healthy, parents have to be the boss. Devon cannot get out of her car seat, but she can pick whether she wants orange juice or apple juice for breakfast.

The parents’ role is to set limits, but give children choices when possible.

Children are children
Children are not little adults. They are still learning, still practicing, and still need positive guidance. They need to be reminded often of what the rules are. The shorter the list of rules and the more children understand and have input into making them, the more likely they are to remember and follow them.

The parents’ role is to understand the stages children pass through.

Children want attention
Children want and need attention, and they deserve it. They learn early that certain responses follow certain behaviors. Giving attention for cooperative, instead of uncooperative behavior is extremely important. Ignore Paula when she interrupts your conversation; tell her what good manners she has when she remembers to say, “Excuse me.”



Hobe Sound Early Learning Center
11580 SE Gomez Avenue
Hobe Sound, Florida 33455

Voice: 772-546-5462
Fax: 772-546-5480
State License #C19MA0016