Notes from MOMmy:

I always see these so called “bad behaviors” among children. We as a parent, tends to forget that our kids are still learning on handling their emotion.

Via UpWorthy: 10 ways kids appear to be acting naughty but actually aren’t

When we recognize kids’ unwelcome behaviors as reactions to environmental conditions, developmental phases, or our own actions, we can respond proactively, and with compassion.

Here are 10 ways kids may seem like they’re acting “naughty” but really aren’t. And what parents can do to help.

1. They can’t control their impulses.

Ever say to your kid, “Don’t throw that!” and they throw it anyway?

Research suggests the brain regions involved in self-control are immature at birth and don’t fully mature until the end of adolescence, which explains why developing self-control is a “long, slow process.”

A recent survey revealed many parents assume children can do things at earlier ages than child-development experts know to be true. For example, 56% of parents felt that children under the age of 3 should be able to resist the desire to do something forbidden whereas most children don’t master this skill until age 3 and a half or 4.

What parents can do: Reminding ourselves that kids can’t always manage impulses (because their brains aren’t fully developed) can inspire gentler reactions to their behavior.

2. They experience overstimulation.

We take our kids to Target, the park, and their sister’s play in a single morning and inevitably see meltdowns, hyperactivity, or outright resistance. Jam-packed schedules, overstimulation, and exhaustion are hallmarks of modern family life.

Research suggests that 28% of Americans “always feel rushed” and 45% report having “no excess time.” Kim John Payne, author of “Simplicity Parenting,” argues that children experience a “cumulative stress reaction” from too much enrichment, activity, choice, and toys. He asserts that kids need tons of “down time” to balance their “up time.”

What parents can do: When we build in plenty of quiet time, playtime, and rest time, children’s behavior often improves dramatically.

3. Kids’ physical needs affect their mood.

Ever been “hangry” or completely out of patience because you didn’t get enough sleep? Little kids are affected tenfold by such “core conditions” of being tired, hungry, thirsty, over-sugared, or sick.

Kids’ ability to manage emotions and behavior is greatly diminished when they’re tired. Many parents also notice a sharp change in children’s behavior about an hour before meals, if they woke up in the night, or if they are coming down with an illness.

What parents can do: Kids can’t always communicate or “help themselves” to a snack, a Tylenol, water, or a nap like adults can. Help them through routines and prep for when that schedule might get thrown off.

Image via iStock

4. They can’t tame their expression of big feelings.

As adults, we’ve been taught to tame and hide our big emotions, often by stuffing them, displacing them, or distracting from them. Kids can’t do that yet.

What parents can do: Early-childhood educator Janet Lansbury has a great phrase for when kids display powerful feelings such as screaming, yelling, or crying. She suggests that parents “let feelings be” by not reacting or punishing kids when they express powerful emotions. (Psst: “Jane the Virgin” actor Justin Baldoni has some tips on parenting through his daughter’s grocery store meltdown.)

5. Kids have a developmental need for tons of movement.

“Sit still!” “Stop chasing your brother around the table!” “Stop sword fighting with those pieces of cardboard!” “Stop jumping off the couch!”

Kids have a developmental need for tons of movement. The need to spend time outside, ride bikes and scooters, do rough-and-tumble play, crawl under things, swing from things, jump off things, and race around things.

What parents can do: Instead of calling a child “bad” when they’re acting energetic, it may be better to organize a quick trip to the playground or a stroll around the block.

6. They’re defiant.

Every 40- and 50-degree day resulted in an argument at one family’s home. A first-grader insisted that it was warm enough to wear shorts while mom said the temperature called for pants. Erik Erikson’s model posits that toddlers try to do things for themselves and that preschoolers take initiative and carry out their own plans.

What parents can do: Even though it’s annoying when a child picks your tomatoes while they’re still green, cuts their own hair, or makes a fort with eight freshly-washed sheets, they’re doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing — trying to carry out their own plans, make their own decisions, and become their own little independent people. Understanding this and letting them try is key.

7. Sometimes even their best traits can trip them up.

It happens to all of us — our biggest strengths often reflect our weaknesses. Maybe we’re incredibly focused, but can’t transition very easily. Maybe we’re intuitive and sensitive but take on other people’s negative moods like a sponge.

Kids are similar: They may be driven in school but have difficulty coping when they mess up (e.g., yelling when they make a mistake). They may be cautious and safe but resistant to new activities (e.g., refusing to go to baseball practice). They may live in the moment but aren’t that organized (e.g., letting their bedroom floor become covered with toys).

What parents can do: Recognizing when a child’s unwelcome behaviors are really the flip side of their strengths — just like ours — can help us react with more understanding.

Image via iStock

8. Kids have a fierce need for play.

Your kid paints her face with yogurt, wants you to chase her and “catch her” when you’re trying to brush her teeth, or puts on daddy’s shoes instead of her own when you’re racing out the door. Some of kids’ seemingly “bad” behaviors are what John Gottman calls “bids” for you to play with them.

Kids love to be silly and goofy. They delight in the connection that comes from shared laughter and love the elements of novelty, surprise, and excitement.

What parents can do: Play often takes extra time and therefore gets in the way of parents’ own timelines and agendas, which may look like resistance and naughtiness even when it’s not. When parents build lots of playtime into the day, kids don’t need to beg for it so hard when you’re trying to get them out the door.

9. They are hyperaware and react to parents’ moods.

Multiple research studies on emotional contagion have found that it only takes milliseconds for emotions like enthusiasm and joy, as well as sadness, fear, and anger, to pass from person to person, and this often occurs without either person realizing it. Kids especially pick up on their parents’ moods. If we are stressed, distracted, down, or always on the verge of frustrated, kids emulate these moods. When we are peaceful and grounded, kids model off that instead.

What parents can do: Check in with yourself before getting frustrated with your child for feeling what they’re feeling. Their behavior could be modeled after your own tone and emotion.

10. They struggle to respond to inconsistent limits.

At one baseball game, you buy your kid M&Ms. At the next, you say, “No, it’ll ruin your dinner,” and your kid screams and whines. One night you read your kids five books, but the next you insist you only have time to read one, and they beg for more. One night you ask your child, “What do you want for dinner?” and the next night you say, “We’re having lasagna, you can’t have anything different,” and your kids protest the incongruence.

When parents are inconsistent with limits, it naturally sets off kids’ frustration and invites whining, crying, or yelling.

What parents can do: Just like adults, kids want (and need) to know what to expect. Any effort toward being 100% consistent with boundaries, limits, and routines will seriously improve children’s behavior.

Notes from MOMmy:

I shall try these tips on my kids. Let me know what happens after you practice these tips.

Via Bright Side: 5 Ways to Teach a Kid How to Wait

Not every adult is able to wait patiently, to say nothing of kids. But there are methods that can help you develop self-control and not die of boredom — without resorting to any gadgets at that.
We at Bright Side were surprised when we discovered that’s even possible. Yet here’s more proof that true genius lies in simplicity.

5. Visualize time

Children start to develop abstract thinking around the age of 9. Before that, their mind works in a more concrete way, which is the reason why it might be hard for them to tell the difference between 15 and 45 minutes. To bypass that, it’s useful to visualize time whenever possible.

Wrong: “We’re leaving in an hour.“ ”You have 10 minutes to put your toys away.“

Correct: “Dad will be home from work when the sun goes down behind that roof over there.”

Waiting will not be so excruciating for a child if he or she can make a comparison like ”Oh, this’ll be as quick as brushing my teeth.”

4. Teach your kids games they can play alone

There are several reasons why playing alone is important for children. One of them is being able to entertain themselves anywhere and anytime. Children’s imaginations have no boundaries, and these games do not require any preparation or special objects.

Wrong kind of games: Smartphone or tablet games hinder the development of imagination and creativeness (the course and result of the game being predetermined by its developer).

Right kind of games: Jigsaw puzzles, treasure hunts, making up fairy tales, role-playing, etc.

There are several ways to teach a child to play independently, and the results will exceed all expectations if you arm yourself with patience.

3. A lifesaving game for public places

It’s always boring for children to wait until the bus arrives or mom comes back from the shop. For these occasions, there is an excellent way to divert their attention.

The game: Two participants make a wish and agree on a feature they will look for in the surrounding objects (color, shape, first letter of a name). The one who is first to count 20 (or any other number) objects with the chosen feature wins and has the right to demand the fulfillment of his or her wish. For instance, you can count passing cars while waiting at a bus stop or signs while traveling.

What’s the trick: Firstly, this is a very addictive game which also allows you to adjust the rules depending on the child’s age. Secondly, a parent doesn’t have to actively participate since children usually count for two.

2. A simple way to not interrupt adults

Allison Hendrix is a blogger and mother of two whose Interrupt Rule blew up the Internet with its simplicity and brilliance.

The rule: When a child wants to say something while their parent is talking to someone else, they should just put their hand on their parent’s arm or shoulder. If the parent touches their hand in response, it means that the child has been “heard” and will be attended to as soon as possible.

Why it works: By maintaining contact the adult makes it clear that the child is being treated with respect and not ignored.

1. Waiting for big events (birthday, Christmas)

Even if children learn to not interrupt adults and have fun on their own, it is still difficult for them to wait for important dates (Christmas, birthday, vacations, and so on).

How to help: An Advent calendar can help make the wait shorter. Each day before the upcoming date is marked by postcards with wishes or creative tasks, little sacks with presents, or packets of candies. Any of these options will be enjoyed by children of all ages: they all love surprises, after all.