Bad Behavior: Ignore or Punish?

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  1. carlacitarelli profile image61
    carlacitarelliposted 12 years ago

    According to a friend who is also a family therapist, some bad behavior or what he considers to be acting out should be ignored since it is usually a ploy to gain attention. More specifically; tantrums, yelling, whining or any other behavior that is negative but not harming the child or anyone else. I'm not so sure I can agree with this completely. While I agree that it is used for getting attention, I don't think that always ignoring the behavior is an option. So what should be done in those situations where punishment seems necessary? What do you think?

    1. wilderness profile image96
      wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      In general your friend is right - actions designed solely to get attention should be ignored.  By responding you only reinforce the behavior.

      Children often, however, act this way as a way to relieve anger, and to a point that is fine.  They really know no other way that you will accept.  At the same time, children need to learn to control their anger responses and must be gradually brought into line with what is acceptable to you.

      1. profile image0
        Home Girlposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Agreed completely, if you are paying too much attention, you are reinforcing bad behaviour that will go on and on in future.

        1. psycheskinner profile image85
          psycheskinnerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          However if it occurs in public you have to at least remove the kid to an appropriate place to leave them screaming in the supermarket aisle throwing cans of food around etc.

    2. Disturbia profile image60
      Disturbiaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I can only speak from personal experience about this, but my oldest daughter was a nightmare since the day she was born.  Throwing tantrums seemed to be her way of coping with EVERYTHING.  I used to think that ignoring them would make them go away, but that didn't happen.  Neither did any discipline or correction.  My friends would tell me that she was just a spoiled brat and what was needed was a good spanking, but that's not my way.  The outbursts and bad behavior escalated.  Eventually, she was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD, and put on medication which seemed to abate most of the truly egregious behaviors.  But still, she was a difficult child at best.  I guess my point in all of this is that I really don't think bad behavior should be ignored or just dismissed as a bid for negative attention and punished, because maybe it's something more than that.  It could just be a plea for help, or a disorder that can be treated.

    3. New 2011 Mom profile image60
      New 2011 Momposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I think that some things can be left untouched, and some need punishment of some sort. Children act out and sometimes it's ok to let them act out to help them deal with whatever is occurring around them. Out in public is a different story. I would try to talk to them about why they are acting out, leave the place if it gets too bad, or go somewhere in a store or behind it and let them cry or yell until they are calmed down.

    4. brandasaur profile image59
      brandasaurposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Never ignore. You can resort to explaining or sermons. But if the bad behavior is crossing the line and keeps on repeating, punishment is a must.

  2. K. Burns Darling profile image77
    K. Burns Darlingposted 12 years ago

    I am the mother of a 17 year old son, a sixteen year old daughter, and a 4 year old daughter, and I have found that ignoring that type of behavior is most effective.  In the case of tantrums, if we are at home, I also remove the offender from the situation.  As an example, my four year old threw a tantrum yesterday, and was disturbing everyone else in the house, so I picked her up and put her in her room, told her that she could not be in everyone else's space disturbing them, and told her she could come out of her room when she was ready to stop screaming and crying.  This is usually pretty effective, and in my experience is the fastest and most peaceful way to end the conflict.  I never reward bad behavior, and I never give in to tantrums.  My two older children learned rather quickly that tantrums don't work, and my younger daughter is getting the message to.

  3. carlacitarelli profile image61
    carlacitarelliposted 12 years ago

    Thanks for the advice. I have three children as well but only one has ever even tried getting attention with negative behavior. I don't mind ignoring it at home so much (although I've found it continues anyway and he never seems to get it). The problem I have is when the tantrum is in response to a direct "order" from me or when we are in some place where it simply cannot be allowed to continue. Any advice on that?

    1. Lindy's World profile image61
      Lindy's Worldposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      As a teacher I have encountered this problem a lot within the class and with my own children.  Ignoring the behavior as long as the child isn't endangering themselves or others is often the best method.  I have found that (personally and professionally) sometimes you have to remove the child from the environment.  I also explain to the child that there are rewards and consequences to their actions.  In a situation where you are in public try this method.  If they stop they get to stay and do whatever, if they continue you will leave and they don't get what they want.  This always works well with my daughter.

      1. wilderness profile image96
        wildernessposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I read one ladys report where she visited a restaurant with a small child, and ordered dinner.  The child threw a tantrum about something or other, whereupon the lady got up, paid for the food they hadn't yet received, and left.

        She reported it was the last time the child did that, at least in a restaurant.

  4. kirsib profile image59
    kirsibposted 12 years ago

    I'm not a perfect mom and I've dealt with lot of issues with kids and oh boy can they push your buttons! My young ones been throwing fits, oldest even ended up in my friends house for a week after one encounter with me that was not pretty (he is 14 and his dad walk out on us 2 years ago). He came back home much more appreciative about what he  does have instead of what he does not.

    Ignoring would not exactly be the word I use. Toddler has a pretty short memory so sometime you can just distract them from the tantrum by just bringing up something else to distract them totally. But if a kid uses bad language or is violent against someone I do not put up with it at all. Call me strict but I've spanked few of my kids. 3 of them would stop the nonsense from timeout or lost privilege but 2 of my boys would not get it until I really showed this is not allowed.

    I think if your kid does not learn at home that rules are meant to be followed and there IS consequence if you act against them, how do you expect them to behave well away from home?

    I would never agree with physically harming your child more than to get your point across at once, to me it is way better than constant fight about boundaries with your child. Never EVER to the point that a child would be bruised up or hurt for more than a second. I've learned that time out works for younger kids at most times and lost TV/Game/friend time is pretty good way to deal with the older kid who does not act properly.

  5. pstraubie48 profile image81
    pstraubie48posted 12 years ago

    My stance is: it depends on the nature of the behavior what I did/do.
    I taught school for forty years and discipline was a strength of mine.
    We learned at the very onset of the school year that there were expected behaviors and there were rewards and consequences for following or breaking those rules. Making good choices was stressed every day.
    What I found was different situations demanded different responses. Children who had ADHD or other issues could be set off easily by another child or even by me so I was careful to not box that child into a corner where he or she could not resolve the issue with the class and maintain his or her dignity. Saving face was important to the child.
    However, and this may sound contradictory, no matter the disorder, every child knew the rules of our class and no one received preferential treatment. If a child broken the rules, whatever the consequence that misbehavior, would follow.
    And I never, ever promised a consequence I did not follow through on. Sometimes as parents and teachers, we say 'if you do not do so and so, such and such will happen.' If you do not follow through, the child learns, what ever is supposed to happen will not happen. In the classroom,  Sometimes a child missed a special activity because of choices that were made. Usually it only took one time of missing a fun activity to 'fix' the behavior.


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