“Being naughty” over and over for different reasons? What is a child actually trying to say by being naughty? The reasons and causes vary with age.
What we call naughtiness in two to three years olds is actually natural part of personal development of a child when the child is showing its personality to others. It’s natural expression where the child is becoming aware of its individuality. What if its disobedience lasts longer?
If the defiance period lasts till the age of four and further it is necessary to reconsider your behavior such as:
– How did we respond to a child when he was trying our patience?
– Did we show it that we love him no matter how its tantrum went?
– Did we understand that it is its natural right to “keep testing” our love? Its right rises from the necessity of personal development.
It is important to give your child love with set boundaries which show the furthest point of direction for its temper.
Imagine how devastating wild water can be if it has no boundaries to stay within or how useful it can be if it has direction. As it is of substance to lead dawn pour to through it’s equally important for the child not to make from its bad behavior a tool to manipulate the adults. “They’ll do what I want if I keep misbehaving, I’ll get the chocolate at the end.” He or she’ll win for the time but it will also bring further problems.
Building a dam
This is the right moment when parent should reconsider if they were able to tame the ‘wild water’ to regulate the flow. To stir the life energy of a child the right way where it is useful and not wasted even though that is usually the easiest way.
If you haven’t managed this yet it is necessary to start with consistency immediately: we will not behave according to our child in conflict situations (we will not succumb to its pressure); on the contrary child will behave according to us: we’ll help it to keep his temper under control. We show it that it can rely on us.
Naughtiness in older children
When we manage the defiance period a period of child’s personal stability sets in and child should be able to undergo variety of loads.
If a child is still naughty at this period we should assume this as a particular kind of communication, a coded language.
It could be a distress signal that the child’s delegating. Similarly, when a baby cries its mother is able to recognize the particular need (e.g. hunger, wetness, overtiredness…), it could be that it is an expression of unhappiness.
What is a child trying to say by misbehaving?
If a parent is able to ask this question it is usually the first useful step.
In principle we can find three major roots to child’s problems:
Inherited temper. The temper is relevant to the strength and to the endurance of our nerve system which we carry to this word since the day of conception (it could also be affected by premature birth). Some children are naturally more sensitive to be irritated and to be able to manage their temper is hard life-long battle. Not just raising a child plays role in its personality but also later self-control plays major part. ‘The naughtiness’ can be expresses by overtiredness that is visible during particular part of a day. Hug your child, hold it and let it have peace. This kind of irritation presents itself anywhere it is not affected by people or the environment.
Relationship to mother. If child doesn’t feel strong bond to the most important person in its life it will feel insecure, frightened and it can provoke its mum by being naughty to gain prove of her love. At this time the mother must show it that although she does not accept this behavior she is accepting fully her little person.
Don’t become angry. Try to hug your child tightly and let it live through its worries. Calm him or her down and show them that you are there for them (and only for them at the time). Not only when it is time for cuddle but also when the child is naughty. Do let it know that you are not accepting his bad behavior but also show you don’t condemn the child itself.
Interraction among key people. Whole emotional atmosphere in the family plays major role in child life. If mum will always be preoccupied by various thoughts (.e.g. she is preparing for an exam and takes the care of child as responsibility or even a hard work only) she will be stressed and irritable. This kind of emotions will pass on to the child’s sensitive barometer.
Similarly the child feels the tension between mother and other family members. They are most sensitive to the relationship between the mother and the father or the mother and the mother-in-law. Quarrels between father and other people don’t affect the child so much.
It’s not your fault!
How do you show a child that any misunderstanding is not relative to it but to something else? If a child is able to understand a little you can try and explain the situation: we were not able to come to an agreement with your dad last night, but it wasn’t because of you (even though it actually could have been so, like time management around the child or similar)
Sometimes your child can become unwell due to the tension in the family (psycho-somatic illness). It knows that if he or she will be unwell it will get loving attention of both parents. If that is the case you should approach a specialist to deal with this issue.
He or she is naughty only somewhere
This king of misbehaving is easily recognizable – the child is naughty only in a certain environment – he is well behaved at school but naughty at home or vice versa. (e.g. he is very nervous from their new teacher..) Very often the message is: do pay attention to me, I need you now…
We need to find the cause of the issue and deal with it. Once we fore fill the child’s needs and the behavior does not change we need to search further.
Obduracy and sulking
A period of disobedience comes and goes and we have to survive it. However if child is still at it at older age we have to try finding the cause; it can be naughty for the sake of others.
“A common appearance in children of divorced parents is when mother speaks badly about the child’s father (especially in boys) and the boy can ‘hold dads side’ and punishes her mum by misbehaving.” Says child psychologist Jaroslav Sturma.
Even in two parents family when one humiliates the other or act without love obduracy can occur in the members of the humiliated sex.
Syndrome of rejected parent
If a child is under a strong influence from one parent so called ‘brainwashing’ or rejected parent syndrome occurs. This mechanism ensures that the child is able to content its own private world.
It gives up on the relationship with one parent more or less consciously. For example it takes up mothers’ values and rejects fathers’. Long term disunity is unbearable, the child is not able to take the humiliation of the other and eventually a moment of taking one side comes and it erases the other from its mind.
Even this behavior can be taken as bad but to blame the child for this isn’t fair.