What Is Misbehavior And Methods To Help?

Raising children will be one of the most wonderful things that you will do in your life. However, it can also be one of the more challenging things you will do, too.

There’s no linear, one way of helping your children grow and develop, as each child is different, and we all have various parenting techniques to help us. 

That being said, our guides are here to help you understand why you child does certain things, and what you can do to help them. This guide is all about misbehavior, what it is, examples of misbehavior, and what you can do to to prevent it.

So, let’s start with the definition of misbehavior. 

What Is The Definition Of Misbehavior?

The term misbehavior is synonymous with bad behavior. Therefore, misbehavior is any type of actions that are deemed unsuitable or unacceptable.

When children are misbehaving, they will be engaging with bad, improper or rude behavior, and not conducting themselves in an appropriate manner.

This can include having tantrums, being aggressive, foul language, acting out, or even becoming violent.

However, misbehavior is not always just about the extreme end of the scale, where a child becomes defensive and violent, it is also a term used to describe a child that is simply not behaving in a manner that you, as the parent deems appropriate.

Therefore, if your child is not adhering to the rules and guidelines that you have set out, then they are misbehaving.

Most of the time, misbehavior involves whining, crying, lying. Hitting, tantrums, destroying things and many other inappropriate actions, all of which stem from a child having an unmet need of some kind. 

Why Do Kids Misbehave?

For the majority of kids, misbehavior stems from children being unable to communicate their needs, or regulate their emotions. Children are still growing and developing, and it can sometimes be hard for them to control their feelings and emotions.

This often results in misbehavior, or your child will act out. This is largely because children are unable to identify or articulate what they really want and need, so instead they may misbehave to try and achieve what they want and fulfull those needs that are not being met.

As you can imagine, most children will start to misbehave when they are tired or hungry. If you have a little one, then you already know how easy it is for them to start getting cranky, irritable and begin misbehaving when they need a nap or a snack.

Other reason why kids misbehave is because they are craving attention, even if it is bad attentions such as being told off. Some children will whine, cry and shout because they want attention from their parents or other people, and they don’t care how they get that attention. 

Sometimes, when another child joins the family, the first born can feel shunned, and will start to display bad behaviors that they never have before. This is not the child becoming naughty, but more a means of them gaining the attention and devotion they want.

Most of the time this will manifest itself in actions like tantrums, crying or even by hitting a sibling to attract your focus and bring it onto them instead of the other children. 

In other cases, children may begin misbehaving because of something they have seen or picked up in the environment around them.

Kids are literally like little sponges and they absorb information, and imitate actions. You’ll notice that even babies will try to imitate their parents, as this helps them learn and develop their communication skills.

Children can start misbehaving because they are imitating something they have seen in person, or on a game or in a TV show. They may not even understand what they are doing is wrong, and are simply copying something else. 

Another reason your child may be misbehaving is because they are testing the limits, and trying to see what you will do. Some children do this to see what the repercussions will be, and how far they can push you to gain more control and independence.

Whilst children need parenting, guidance and rules, they also need to feel independent as it helps them to learn new skills and be confident in themselves. They may break rules as a means of gaining this independent feeling for themselves. 

Finally, children can also start misbehaving because they lack to the skill to do something, whether it’s to communicate, or with problem solving, or they are struggling to pick up new concepts in school. 

Children may start behaving badly if they have undiagnosed learning difficulties, which can be very frustrating for them. They may not understand why they cannot keep up with their school work, or concentrate on certain tasks.

Some kids may also struggle to control emotions, or may feel overwhelmed, which can lead to lashing out and tantrums. 

There are many reasons why your child may be misbehaving, so you need to figure out the root of the problem, so that you can help them.  

Examples Of Misbehavior

  • Defiance
  • Whining/crying
  • Lying
  • Disrespectful actions/behaviors
  • Aggression
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Temper tantrums
  • Fighting 
  • Avoiding bedtime
  • Rule breaking
  • Anger

How To Deal With A Misbehaving Child

How you deal with your child’s bad behavior depends on what kinds of actions they are taking, and what the cause of the misbehavior is. However, most cases of misbehavior can be resolved with positive parenting.

Positive parenting is when a parent treats a child in a respectful manner, by being empathetic to their feelings, but also teaching them, leading them and guiding them to help them learn and develop into rounded individuals.

Positive parenting involves setting clear guidelines, rules and expectations, but helping children reach those expectations with support, love and care. 

With positive parenting, you are able to recognize, reward and reinforce positive behaviors and impulses, and let children know that bad behavior is unacceptable, but with warmth and support to help them understand why. 

If you have a child that is misbehaving due to lack of attention, then take some time aside for them, and explain that you will need to spend time with other people/siblings/children too, but that you also love them and have special time to focus on them.

You may want to take them somewhere so that you can participate in an activity with them, to give them the focus that they desire. 

On the other hand, if you have a child that seems to misbehave to show independence and authority, then you will need to set rules and expectations, but also be respectfiul of their need for independence. 

For instance, if you want them to do their chores or homework. Let them know that you expect it to be done, and there will be repercussions if it is not, but allow them to do it in their own time, on their own, so that they reap the rewards and feel proud of their accomplishments, rather than forced into them. 

Alternatively, if you notice bad behavior tends to happen due to tiredness or hunger, or unmet needs, then help your child learn to communicate to you what they want.

If you have a toddler, then try to look for cues that your child needs something, and always be prepared with snacks, or plan your day around nap time. 

Other children may need additional support to learn and grow, and could have undiagnosed learning disabilities.

To help your child, and avoid any misbhavior in future, take them to your doctor for advice, guidance and treatment, and support them in everything that they do.