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Dealing with a Child's Inappropriate Behavior

Updated on September 15, 2011

We all do mistakes, including us being parents as well as our children. But if we keep repeating it even after we know it’s a mistake, and then it is not right. The true spirit is to change ourselves once we know that our behavior or doings hurt someone. However sometimes a child may just fail to realize so and keep repeating his wrong doings or inappropriate behavior. Dealing with a child’s inappropriate behavior can be a difficult task for parents. Such challenging behaviors of children may actual frustrate a parent on many occasions. Even parents have their level of patience, and once the line is crossed then finish! Constant negative behavior pattern from children could be a headache for parents. Such parents try various ways to handle the situation and then get a little desperate on how to deal with a child’s inappropriate behavior. But somewhere down the line parents themselves have to take up the responsibility of making their children behave this way. But how? The fact is few parents let their children enjoy each and every freedom they didn’t get to, forgetting completely the art of saying ‘no’.

Children on the other hand enjoy the freedom and start to forget their limitations, as no boundaries are set by parents. One important thing that a parent can’t forget is the reason why a child may behave inappropriately. The reason for a child to behave so, is to communicate with his parents or to convey certain message to his parents. If a parent learns to understand that message than things get easy for him or her, if no then the inappropriate behavior from a child continues. So in order to handle to deal with a child’s inappropriate first we need to learn the reason behind such behavior.

Inappropriate behavior by kids in front of parents

Spitting

Talking back or answering back

Lying

Swearing

Temper tantrums

Hitting parents

Not obeying

Arguing with their parents

Not sharing things with siblings

Bullying

Arguments with parents in front of guests

Disrespect

Constant fighting

Purposely keeping rooms or house unclean / messing around

Reasons for inappropriate behavior in children

If a child behaves inappropriately with his parents, all he tries to do is communicate with his parents. Temper tantrums are thrown by children because they want things to happen their own way. If a child is not happy about his parent’s decision and can’t convey the message directly; he or she may start behaving inappropriately just to let his parents know that he or she is upset about the whole thing that is going on. So the fact is there has to be one or more reason for a child’s inappropriate behavior, and all a parents need to realize that the child is trying to convey his feelings or anger through his challenging or negative behavior. One more reason why a child would in such manner is to show that he is hurt or scared. When a child feels insecure about certain situations or parent’s decisions, they get totally out of control and start behaving inappropriately just to feel better. A child on the other hand may also behave inappropriately if his parents don’t pay attention to his feelings and thus don’t meet his demands. In such cases a frustrated child may try various things to gain control over the situation, like hurting his sibling, punching pillows, kicking some other child, throwing things, breaking toys, tearing books and so on.

How to deal with a child’s inappropriate behavior

Try to learn what is bothering your child and the reason behind your child’s inappropriate behavior. A child may have various reasons for behaving so including being exhausted, scared, tired, hungry, bored, sad or even unhappy. Once you know what is wrong it is easy for you to handle the situation and to find solutions for the same.

Try to communicate with your child about his inappropriate behavior. Speak with your child about the way he behaves and how it hurts you. Let your child know that the way he behaves upset you and he should stop it right away.

Let your child realize that when you say “no” you actually mean it. And a child has to stop right there when you use that strict tone.

Learn ignoring your child’s behavior every now and then. A child may throw more tantrums once he knows that he is gaining attention. So parentsshould stop giving attention to a child by falling off to their child’s demands and giving away everything the child asks for.

Restrict your child’s freedom as a way of punishment. Instead of hitting your child or saying harsh words, try taking away their certain privileges away from them. For instance reduce their pocket money for a month or reduce or completely keep them away from TV watching, don’t allow them to get or visit friend’s house or so on. Let the children realize that their inappropriate behavior had come with a heavy price and may be this way they would stop behaving inappropriately.

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    • Fellow Mumbaite profile image
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      Fellow Mumbaite 4 years ago from India

      Thanks callyworden... its nice to know that you enjoyed reading this hub.

    • callyworden profile image

      Cally Worden 4 years ago from Madranges, France

      Just stumbled upon this, and wanted to comment how nice it is to see sensible approaches to behaviours being championed. You are so right that something small like taking the time to talk to your child can make a difference. Easy to miss that in the heat of the moment! Nice hub!

    • Fellow Mumbaite profile image
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      Fellow Mumbaite 5 years ago from India

      Thnaks again Kellyward..I appreciate you visit most of my hubs and like it..Thanks for the opinion, you are certainly right about this fact. A child who misbehaves sometimes may just do it for attention. Parents need to look across this aspect too.

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      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Fellow Mumbaite, thanks for the great hub. I remember Dreikurs always saying a misbehaving child is a discouraged child. I think this is true most of the time. Sometimes kids just flat out want to misbehave. Maybe because they are bored. Thanks for the info I enjoyed reading it.

    • Fellow Mumbaite profile image
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      Fellow Mumbaite 6 years ago from India

      Thanks a lot JT Walters.. Its really a pleasure knowing so!

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 6 years ago from Florida

      They should you have provided extremely sage advice.

      JT

    • Fellow Mumbaite profile image
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      Fellow Mumbaite 6 years ago from India

      Thanks JT Walters..Its a pleasure to have you read and like my article. Thanks for visiting. My only intention about writing this article is to help parents deal with such untoward situation. Many of them seriously don't know how to tackle it! Hopefully they too will find this article helpful.

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 6 years ago from Florida

      HI Fellow Mumbaite,

      I spent many years as a behavior analyst and you explain so very technical and practical ideas to the laymen in this article. Excellent job!!

      JT

    • Fellow Mumbaite profile image
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      Fellow Mumbaite 6 years ago from India

      Thanks missolive for reading my hub..Yes you are right about the kid's behavior being changed nowadays. Parents too find it very surprising and most of all they too don't expect things going that far when it comes to child's inappropriate behavior.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

      Very nice HUB - great comments too

      As an educator I have seen many of these behaviors in our schools. Many parents would be ashamed if they knew how some of their children behave. I've even had kids tell me, "go ahead, call home...I act worse at home " (I call anyway)

      I discuss issues with the parents and can usually tell who is in control - either the child or the parent.

      In team meetings with the various teachers, parent and child we have witnessed the student's treating their parents very badly. Difficult and awkward moments. Hopefully fellow teachers, parents and community members will work together to model and mentor appropriate behavior.

    • Fellow Mumbaite profile image
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      Fellow Mumbaite 6 years ago from India

      @Troyangeluk..thanks for visiting and reading my article. I visited the link of your article and found the whole positive reinforcement technique pretty interesting.

    • Troyangeluk profile image

      Troyangeluk 6 years ago from UK

      great hub :) I also write an article on controling a kids behaviour with positive reinforcement.

      https://hubpages.com/education/Using-positive-rein...

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      jenubouka 6 years ago

      yes it can, I get up between 3am to 4am just to get some work time in. This is a new avenue so I am trying balance it all out.

    • Fellow Mumbaite profile image
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      Fellow Mumbaite 6 years ago from India

      I can understand Jenubouka..it must be really difficult for you to handle this. It must be affecting your work too.

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      jenubouka 6 years ago

      Yes, exactly. I admit it can be tiring, very tiring. I feel like a broken record, and wonder why after facing the consequences he still does the same thing over and over.

    • Fellow Mumbaite profile image
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      Fellow Mumbaite 6 years ago from India

      That's what the whole point of dealing with child's inappropriate behavior is all about! Don't encourage this behavior, instead deal with it in the right way just to make them realize that their inappropriate behavior is not entertained here! Molly has set out a good example.

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      jenubouka 6 years ago

      Molly, you are awesome! That should be on youtube.

    • Fellow Mumbaite profile image
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      Fellow Mumbaite 6 years ago from India

      Hats off to you Molly. You handled the situation really well!

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      molly 6 years ago from Ireland

      I remember when my son aged 6 at the time threw a tantrum in our local supermarket. He threw himself on the ground and started kicking and screaming so I threw myself on the ground and did exactly the same thing. The bewilderment and embarrassed look in his face was priceless. a bit of a crowd has gathered and he just stood up said "come on mummy, I'm sorry" I got a clap on the back from onlookers and he never did it again.

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      jenubouka 6 years ago

      Thank you

    • Fellow Mumbaite profile image
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      Fellow Mumbaite 6 years ago from India

      Don't worry Jenubouka..things will definitely work out with you. Just help him with lot of qualitative time and let him know you are always there for him. But in this process don't ignore your work and find ways to balance both the things.

      My best wishes to you.

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      jenubouka 6 years ago

      Thank you. I will just keep on being consistent, and make sure he is getting more positive attention before he gets upset with not understanding why I am not responding to him while on the computer. Oh lord wish me luck

    • Fellow Mumbaite profile image
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      Fellow Mumbaite 6 years ago from India

      Hey Jenubouka

      This used to happen with me all the time before. I had to quit my job to give time to my kid. But I could not just spend time at home doing nothing. When I started as Freelancer, my then 4 year old kid wouldn't understand what I was doing on the PC, and often complained why I sit on the PC for so long. He would always feel jealous of me being on the PC all the time. It was difficult for him to understand then about his mommy being working from home. I would get frustrated most of the time because of his tantrums.

      But slowly and eventually he understood the nature of my job and why I needed to spend time on the computer. I had to convince him about the reason for me working from home, and thus getting a lot of qualitative time to spend with him too. Now he understands it! Today he is very supportive and even helps me out with topics related to articles.

      As in your case, your kid is too young to understand about his mommy working on the computer. You need to work with lot of patience here. I can understand at times it must get a little frustrating but yet! What you can do is work when your kid sleeps or goes to play out or even if he goes to a pre-school. Or else you can engage him in some activities with worksheets or book materials. If his behavior is getting worse, then stop entertaining his behavior and try to be strict. Use the power of saying 'No' or just try the simple 'ignore' thing. Once your child is convinced that his tantrums are not entertained he would stop immediately. As he grows up he will understand what his mommy does and definitely appreciate and support you.

      Best of luck with that!

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      jenubouka 6 years ago

      I have a two and a half boy and I have been a stay at home mom again, due to the economy, for about a month and I feel his behavior is getting worse. I feel like a broken record, and I have tried all the discipline tactics. I am trying to work from home, though the poor little guy doesn't understand mommy is working when on the computer, and wants me to be the playmate ALL the time. Any suggestions would be so appreciated.

    • Fellow Mumbaite profile image
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      Fellow Mumbaite 6 years ago from India

      Hey Kerlynb

      I completely agree, the right way to handle this situation is by ignoring your child's temper tantrums every now and then.

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      "Learn ignoring your child’s behavior every now and then. A child may throw more tantrums once he knows that he is gaining attention." - I have to agree. We cannot manage all of a child's actions. It's good to let him/her do some things alone and therefore learn by himself/herself.