Friday, 11 October 2013

do children misbehave, or do we?

In today’s world teachers and mothers need to be leaders and not bosses. In Piaget’s words they must work for the goal of ‘autonomy’ (intelligent and ethical decision making) rather than obedience.


There should be no such thing as ‘discipline’; it should be behavior management or modification. Discipline, is fixed, like in the army, but behavior can vary and with it varies the methods of handling misbehavior. 


Children in the first 6 years lack impulse control, they react without thinking.  Impulse control is developed with the growth in the pre frontal cortex, so the more the prefrontal cortex develops, the better will be the logic, reasoning, attention, focus in children. Play games to develop impulse control, simple games like ‘Simon says’, ‘Red light, Green light’, all develop impulse control. In Simon says, child has to concentrate and wait for the word ‘Simon’ to do the action, so he controls his impulse to do the action, until he hears the word.


After the age of 6 behavioral problems continue sometimes because kids lack self control. It is important to understand that- 


·         Children are able to focus only on one thing at a time. And so during a tantrum they are unable to see the other point of view.

·         They are unable to figure out the impact of their actions on others in a logical way.

·         Kids have a hard time working out how to get from one state of affairs to another. So it takes them time to work out their emotions. 


The best time to change children’s behavior is not during a tantrum, as the brain is in a shut down mode during a tantrum.  It is often when children are not in the heat of a tantrum that they are best able to think and learn about it.

It would be ideal to have an agreement of behaviour both at home and school- rule # 1 should be, ‘hitting and hurting is not allowed and so we will use words instead.’  Show kids a socially accepted avenue to show their anger and frustration; don’t stop them from experiencing these emotions.  Use sentences like,’ I know you are angry because I did not give you the toy, but instead of beating me, you can beat the pillow’. Don’t react to kid’s misbehavior with your own, if we are telling children, not to hit others when they are angry, then how can we hit them when we are angry? 


Any form of whacking or smacking is still child abuse. You may justify spanking by saying you love your child and want him to improve but you are only teaching the child that hitting is a form of showing love, and they will then grow up accepting violence and violent people. Domestic violence stems from such childhood experiences. Children who are smacked associate love and violence to be the same and so they turn violent or accept violence towards themselves.

What works is conflict resolution. Conflict resolution can be taught in the following steps-

1.     Seeking help- by calling for an adult or going to an adult and informing him that someone is troubling him. Here adults need to understand that this is not tattling and the child should not be blamed for coming for help as this is the first step of conflict resolution, when the child’s efforts at this step fails then he ‘fails’ to believe in any kind of resolution and will then resort to violence.

2.     Taking turns or sharing- an important social skill that is needed to survive with friends and siblings and children should be motivated and complimented for doing it.

3.     Using language instead of hands- teaches children to talk about their needs, their likes and dislikes. Teach them to communicate it to their friends and siblings. ‘Please don’t push my toys’, please don’t push me, you are hurting me’. Etc

4.     Teach children to walk away- a very important technique which can be very helpful when dealing with bullies, instead of standing and arguing or appealing to the bully, walk away from him.

5.     Discussing and planning with adults- telling the parents about a certain bully or how some of her friends tease her etc. then the parents can sit with the child and help her plan what to do and when. This helps the child understand that there is always a way out of the problem and also helps her self esteem and confidence as she is assured in the safe feeling that her parents are there for her.


For repeated instances of misbehaviour, it is important to see children who experience repeated serious conflict not as problem children but as children with problems who need guidance.

So try the following- 

n  Identify and specify instances of misbehavior

n  Observe what happens before and after the behavior

n  Measure how often it happens

n  How long does it last

n  Find a pattern in the behavior

n  Bring about the Change and implement it.

n  Continue measuring the behavior

n  Every time the child exhibits the new behavior, Encourage new behavior.


How we modify our kids behaviour when they are at their most vulnerable has a tremendous impact on their personality, coping skills and our dreams for them. When we believe in positive behaviour management it fosters emotional growth and logical thinking is nurtured. They learn about cause and effect, they learn to trust adults and respect and love themselves.


Adults should remember that children do not misbehave we misinterpret their behaviour.




Bhavna Dwivedi said...

This article very simply puts forward the view that how we misinterpret children's behaviour.

The conflict resolution step-Teach children to walk away has left a deep impact and I would definitely develop these skills in children. It will work wonders for adults too if faced with similar situation.

If we nurture kids with love and patience studies have proven that it leads to healthier, happier and more intelligent adults.

Each time I am faced with a tricky situation with my child or students I will come back to this article for helpful tips.

It's behaviour modification and not discipline that needs to be the call for the day...Bhavna

Ashita Khanna said...

Excellent article.. Shows the best way to deal with children.. Thanks .. Ashita Khanna

Kalpana Mahalwar said...

Excellent Rules to deal with the behaviour issues of young ones and they come as a golden key to unlock the tantrums locks which many of the adults are failing to understand.....It's truly said that first we have to understand the root cause and then implement the decissions and directions.........
Ms Kalpana Mahalwar

Pramila p said...

Great article. Many times its the adults who need to keep a check on their behavior and control themselves as when the child starts behaving badly instead of controlling the situation they themselves loose their temper and the situation gets worse. this not only leads to an adverse effect on the child as in return the child learns this behavior.Nurturing kids in the right way is very important to bring up the child in a positive way and this article will help a lot.

Ms. Anita K said...

An excellent article .Truly said ,Children do not misbehave it is parents misinterpret their behaviour. We as parents need to understand what the child requires ,be patient with him/her , nurture him /her in the right way and just not take decisions for the child without understanding the child's behaviour.

Jumbo Kids Nanded said...

Very good article.....

This shows us instead of blaming children if we will control our emotions at the time of anger , situation can be handled in far better way

Dipti Bali said...

An article which enlightens the right path for the adults to follow and direct themselves to right direction before they impose instructions to little ones.........

Snehal Pjk said...

The word discipline means to impart knowledge and skill – to teach. However, it is often equated with punishment and control. There is a great deal of controversy about the appropriate ways to discipline children, and parents are often confused about effective ways to set limits and instill self-control in their child.
Parenting is the task of raising children and providing them with the necessary material and emotional care to further their physical, emotional, cognitive and social development.
Disciplining children is one of the most important yet difficult responsibilities of parenting, and there are no shortcuts
When you think of the misbehavior of your child, remember that “misbehavior” is a word adults use–not children. What we call misbehavior may seem very different to your child. Children are naturally curious: they explore, they try, they test. This can develop into essential adult skills, though along the way be called misbehavior.
This article helped us to understand that how we misinterpret kid’s behaviour .... Snehal

vaishali joshi said...

As a living thing each one of us have certain needs, one of them is to express our feelings to control all our body chemicals. A adult can express his/her anger in words or will do meditation or count backward. Child can't express himself/herself in the same manner as understanding level differs. so for them to release the stress of chemical reaction they shout, hit or bite to someone to relax or feel that they have achieved something. As ma'am said we need to find out why, when and how child behaves in different situation, conflict resolution guidelines are really helpful to all of us. Thanks ma'am for giving such wonderful guideline.This article will help to many of us to improve their misinterpretation...-Vaishali Joshi

vaishali joshi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pjkparbhani said...

Really parents' behavior also matters. A child may be more likely to have temper tantrums if parents react too strongly to poor behavior or give in to the child's demands. This is excellent article which shows a simple path towards how to deal with the behaviour issues of young ones.

Manju Joshi said...

Human behavior is believed to be controlled primarily by the endocrine system and the nervous system. It is most commonly believed that complexity in the behavior of an organism is correlated to the complexity of its nervous system. Generally, organisms with more complex nervous systems have a greater capacity to learn new responses and thus adjust their behavior.[ Behaviors can be either innate or learned.
Behavior can be regarded as any action of an organism that changes its relationship to its environment. Behavior provides outputs from the organism to the environment.
While following the steps given in the Blog one more way we can go with is Motivation which has been shown to have roots in physiological, behavioral, cognitive, and social areas. Motivation may be rooted in a basic impulse to optimize well-being, minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure. It can also originate from specific physical needs such as eating, sleeping or resting, and sex. Motivation is an inner drive to behave or act in a certain manner

kajal said...

Experiencing the consequences of their choice is one of the most effective ways children can learn self discipline. Being able to think ahead about the positive and negative consequences of an action and choose accordingly is a skill we want our children to learn. Experience is the best teacher. Ignore the misbehaviour , and not the child. As said in the article we should be very careful before instructing , as they immitate their adults, like we stop them from hitting someone if they are angry but at the same time we are hitting them when we are angry. We need to be more patient and lovable rather than misinterpreting the child's behavior.

Nishita T said...

Very truly said, behavioral pedagogy of a child is certain during the early years and therein lies a greater responsibility on our shoulders as a parents to believe and apply it accordingly . This is mirroring the present plight of the relation between child and the mother. If felt and applied well then will surely change the scenario of bond between parent and child and also enhance the growth of a child. I am sure this article would have made many of us realize where we misinterpreted the little ones.

poonam chandak said...

Discipline is the word for adults not for kids instead explaining and forcing kids to do as we want better to give the child the right path and explain the difference between right and wrong.If we nurture kids with love and patience studies have proven that it leads to best and more intelligent adults.So let us start working on behavior management.

Sunita Duggal said...

Parents can respond more effectively when they know what the problem with children's behavior, The article has all the information it
is easier to choose effective guidance techniques to handle
the situation,

shilpa ghare said...

wonderful article kids of first 6 years lack impulse control and here this article will help them to grow smoothly to develop Impulse control with the growth in the pre frontal cortex well said , simon says games kids play but the reason liked the way put in the article .
After age of 6 mentioned in article good to read this really gave lot of information also learning thank you.

Sejal Patel said...

Excellent article.Truely said.
Shaping means providing the child with cues and reinforcements that direct them toward desirable behavior. As you shape behavior, the child’s personality tags along and also changes and Parents,have control on their emotions.

bhakti Trivedi said...

This article truly said, "Children do not misbehave it is parents misinterpret their behaviour." We as adult must understand children behaviour. We need to have patient and guide the children in right direction.

Vaishnavi Shukla said...

Superb article and wonderful tips given...!! It’s very important to understand the emotional changes in children. They go through a lot of emotional changes as they are at a growing stage.
We misinterpret the child’s behavior and label them, which leaves a very bad impact on child’s mind. Find the root cause of the behavior and then come a conclusion or a decision.
We as elders can express our anger in words but children are not able to do the same.
Talk to the children more, try to understand there sign language.
The above article will help us solving tricky situations.

Vaishnavi Shukla.

shwets said...

Great article .really informative. As a new parent i would really appreciate such informative articles .it gives me the confidence to deal with my child as i am well informed abt it .thanx a lot swati mam

Chandni Singh Vadodara said...

This article is surely able to connect to the sentiments of most of the people. It has encompassed almost all the psychological aspects in the development of a child about which most of the parents are unaware. It is quiet essential to understand that being judgmental does not solve any purpose but the root cause needs to be discovered.
Hence, this article can prove to be a milestone in the lives of many parents and educators.

Ms.Chandni Singh
Podar Jumbo Kids, Sherkhi, Vadodara

Nyna Trivedi said...

Recently I read in Exchange Everyday: If you want creative workers give them enough time to play.
If we give rich experience and activities to the children everyday something novel, this will get him excited and will want to express about his activity or experience.
If we nurture kids with love and patience studies have proven that it leads to best and more intelligent adults.So lets start guiding children instead of disciplining.Nayna

jayshree shah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
moni bhawani said...

This is an excellent article for parents/adults to remember that children do not misbehave we adults misinterpret their behavior. This article is also a ready reckoner for conflict resolution and for the upbringing of the little ones in a positive way.

jayshree shah said...

Your article is very informative and specially as an adult most of us always try to correct behavior issues of child when they throw tantrum a very important and informative tip for all is the best time to change children’s behavior is not during a tantrum, as the brain is in a shut down mode during a tantrum. It is often when children are not in the heat of a tantrum that they are best able to think and learn about it.Article is very important because it has the issue which most of Parents, Teachers & every one always are eager to read and implement.True guidance for Behavior issues.

sneha joshi said...

Excellent article
Its very true-Children do not misbehave but as a adult we must understand children behaviour.

Chhaya Sharma said...

Great article.. It is true that we need to talk a lot to children to understand their needs, likes and dislikes beforehand. Moulding children in a proper manner is the most important task for parents and teachers today.

Ms.Chhaya Manish Sharma
Head Mistress
Nagpur Koradi

Rekha Mam Jaipur said...

An excellent article...Learning the positive way.
Very truly said we as adults must always remember to have greater restraint and control over our actions. Reacting to a problem generally escalates the problem. We have to nurture children with love, patience and understanding to get the best out of them.

Indu Chanda said...

The article is an eye opener for the parents of preschoolers and early childhood teachers.

Rachana Mathur said...

It is an excellent and an enlightening article which shows simple ways to deal with the child's behavior .
Many times, we adults are unable to control our anger and vent it out on the child on pretext of correcting child for “misbehaving” . We as adults should rather handle students/children with lots of patience and love.

The Conflict resolution has been very simply but effectively described .This article will help us to deal with children in a better way and help them nurture with love and see them blossom.Rachana Mathur,HM PJKPLus,Jaipur

pallavi bokey said...

we must read blog for every mother,teacher.It gives small tips to resolve behavioral issues.

Neena.U.K. said...

Thank you Ma'am for the excellent article as it will teach us and help us to understand the best way to deal with children.....Neena

Ankita Suchak said...

It is an informative article & guides us to deal with the behavioral issues of the kids.
Excellent guideline for conflict resolution.
Thanks Ma`am.

Pooja Kothare said...

This piece of information will certainly be handy to all adults be it teachers/parents in dealing with their wards.

Parbhani PJK said...

Thank u very much for an excellent article if we impliment the above said information not only the child
each idividual will become a good
human being

Uma Nagdeo said...

Wonderful article, These tips will surely help us to understand child's behaviour and how to deal with it.

Vanita Saigal said...

Excellent article for parents as it gives lot of learning for the parents who find it difficult to handle those temper tantrums in much simpler and in an organised way. Thanks.
Vanita Saigal

shruti jobanputra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shruti jobanputra said...

A very well framed article which would prove helpful to teachers as well as parents.
I would like to add to the section of behavior management with certain examples that I have faced in my daily life..

1) To get the kids' attention I say "123 eyes on me" and the kids say "1 2 Eyes on You!" It works well for me and the kids love it..

2)In my preschool class of 4 year olds, I find that sometimes one disruptive child sets off the rest of the class. To get the children's focus back on the learning I do a rhythm game. I clap and do a beat on my knees child picks it up and copies causing the rest of the children to join in. I find that this allows them to have fun with me and reroute their attention to the lesson at hand.

These are a couple of things that I do to manage behavioral disorders in my class.

PS- Still in the process of understanding these preschoolers and toddlers..

sanil vishala said...

Dear Ma’am

I completely agree that the best time to change children’s behavior not during tantrums. If they have done something wrong they would still want to put their points first. I have seen this happening with kids in our classroom. It is during this time that we as an adult whether it is a mother or a Teacher should not restore to hitting, reacting or shouting.

Child may have his own opinion aswell so need to respect the child’s opinion and children wants to follow the rules if we define the rules clearly and make the child assume responsibility for his or her behavior.
Reward the right behavior and be respectful not just for self but for others and environment aswell.

Thankyou for sharing such wonderful piece of information and look forward to more such tips.

Vishalakshi Sanil

Twinmom said...

I relate so much to this article. Being a mom of multiples, with very limited help, it is an immense task for me to practically follow these tips. But the advantage I have is that managing the tantrum of one child resolves it for two of them. I try and understand where the tantrum took roots from and then deal with it. It is exhausting, but when I hit the cause of the tantrum, it is very easy for me to resolve it.

One thing I notice is children mirror us parents. The way we resolve conflicts in family, between spouses, with friends and neighbours is watched and implemented by kids too.

Would this be a valid observation ma'am or am I reading too much into it?

And I have one question. When we try to maintain order through discipline, have too many rules in the house, aren't we curbing the child's freedom to explore and express? Is there a way to balance both?

Pjk Gwalior said...

From this article I learnt that parents/teachers plays an important role for the child behavior and being a teacher and mother of one I have to teach little ones to express their feeling and help them to know what they are....Thanks

Radhika Joshii said...

835This is an excellent article for Parents /adults to remember that children do not misbehave we adults misinterpret their behavior. Child may have his own opinion as well so need to respect the child’s opinion. Great article.
Thanks Ma’am.

Priti Sonni said...

Very good article to understand why children misbehave

Priti Sonni said...

Very good article to understand why children misbehave

Sarina Oberoi said...

A very interesting and thought provoking article to understand the childs behaviour and how can a parent or am adult deal with a child.very useful steps defined. Thank you Swati mam.

Sarina Oberoi said...

A very interesting and thought provoking article to understand the childs behaviour and how can a parent or am adult deal with a child.very useful steps defined. Thank you Swati mam.