Your child’s behavior may puzzle you. Sometimes, they are well-behaved and obedient, while at other times, they may throw tantrums for the smallest reasons and not listen to you. Drawing up a behavior chart for kids may help, but it is important to make them follow the chart. Hence, it is important to instill discipline in your children right from the beginning.
Children have different temperaments and traits. Even siblings have different temperaments (1) (2). Hence, what proves effective for one child may not work for another. It is the parents’ responsibility to come up with innovative strategies for imparting discipline and addressing child’s conduct.
Parents should remember that, unlike adults, children are still in a stage of honing communication skills in a comprehensive manner. Hence, their frustration over a minor matter may seem insurmountable to them, leading to a massive meltdown. Moreover, children are quick learners. Once they learn that their parents or caregivers are yielding to their tantrums and offering them whatever they want, they are prone to throw more tantrums to get their way. If not controlled in time, this may lead to the child being spoiled.
Children usually imitate others in their surroundings. They learn by observing their parents, caregivers, teachers, and friends. It is necessary, therefore, to emulate positive behavior in front of them. You can create a peaceful environment with respect, empathy, and communication. This sets a precedent for your child’s conduct. You can also add a kids’ behavior reward system to encourage good behavior in them
“Spare the rod and spoil the child” is an old proverb. It advocates the use of corporal punishment to discipline a child. Some parents may choose to raise their voice or spank to discipline their child. Yelling at your children, however, may cause psychological problems in them (3). Several studies also show that spanking or hitting the child for discipline might result in physical and mental health outcomes for children. Those who experience frequent or severe spanking are at a heightened risk of developing mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. Moreover, they may incline towards engaging in drug and alcohol abuse as they mature. In cases where parents employ physical punishment, there emerges a distinct disconnect between the parent and the child in later life (4).
Encouraging good behavior and using positive reinforcement to reduce bad behavior is a form of gentle parenting. This form of parenting is considered one of the most beneficial parental styles as it encourages children to develop into independent and happy adults. They learn empathy, respect, and know to respect boundaries (5). Parents communicate with their children and encourage them to do so too. Moreover, parents remain calm and speak slowly but firmly with their children when they throw a tantrum. This way, the child learns that their tantrums don’t work and develops proper communication with their parents or caregivers properly.
Some children tend to physically hurt themselves or others by hitting, pushing, biting, and exhibiting other aggressive behaviors. Such behaviors are considered inappropriate under any circumstances. Parents should discipline their children immediately if they witness, are victim to, or hear about such behavior. If you think you have an ill-behaved kid, you may opt for behavior therapy for them. Behavior therapy for kids addresses their cognitive and mental health. Conditions, such as ADHD, depression, anxiety, and PTSD in children can be diagnosed using this therapy. Kids with behavior problems and their families shoul learn to encourage positive behaviors and reduce unwanted child behaviors (6).
Whether your child is well-behaved or needs a few lessons in behavior is for you to notice and act promptly. You may worry if your child is too quiet or gets angry too soon. Also, you would want to know if your child is having a healthy mental development. Our posts on kid behavior will help you navigate through this part of parenting. Read these posts to get a good idea of how to deal with different behaviors of your children in a calm and collected manner.
A child’s temperament determines their social adaptability and emotional expression.
A pediatrician can identify and manage the underlying cause of biting behavior in children.
This unreasonable behavior may be dealt with by talking to children and establishing rules.
Several factors may trigger this behavior; a strong bonding and constant praise may help.
Setting boundaries and consequences can help you handle your teen’s annoying behavior.
Keep a close eye on your child’s behavior to spot early warning signs of this condition.
Children don’t always disobey for fun. Identifying the underlying reasons can provide effective solutions.
Understand the signs of this behavior and manage them by creating an action plan.
Begin by setting reasonable expectations, and the child will gradually learn to adhere to the rules.
It can make your child behave worse or cause depression; adopt better practices instead.
Observe your child’s behavior to determine the exact cause of their aggressiveness.
Setting healthy boundaries and respectfully talking to them can help manage them better.
Child behavior can be categorized into three main types. Approved behavior encompasses positive habits, such as being polite and completing chores. Tolerated behavior refers to actions that are accepted within specific circumstances. For instance, a sick child might be excused for not doing chores or being irritable. Intolerable behavior involves harming oneself or others, which cannot be accepted. It's important to remember that a child's behavior is influenced by parental responses, boundaries, and temperament (7). Therefore, it can be said that there is no singular 'typical' child behavior.
Severe behavioral issues in young children typically don't go away independently. The earlier they receive treatment, the better their response. Evidence suggests that they respond to therapy best when treated before age seven (8).
Positive reinforcement involves introducing pleasant stimuli (such as praise or treat) as a response to good behavior and withdrawing those stimuli when dealing with undesirable behavior. This helps children understand which behaviors are acceptable and which are not (9).
Sudden changes in environment, stress and pressure, health issues, emotional upheavals, developmental changes, learning difficulties, media exposure, sleep disturbances, nutrition, and poor mental health are some reasons for a sudden change in a child’s behavior (10).
Studies show that children below two years should not have any screen time, and children between the ages of two and four should have no more than one hour a day (11) (12). This is because exposure to screens has shown a significant reduction in attention spans, poor impulse control, and low empathy in children. Long-term TV watching has been linked in several studies to poorer cognitive functioning, particularly in language development, early reading and math skills, and short-term memory. Violent or quickly paced content can badly impact executive function, and these effects may build upon one another (13).