8 ways kids seem to be naughty but actually aren't

Many of your child’s actions are a normal part of their development. Find out why they act this way.

8 ways kids seem to be naughty but actually aren't

Most kids are unable to voice their likes and dislikes, fend for themselves and even get things themselves. So, when their wants aren’t satisfied, it can lead to a meltdown, or a temper tantrum. Not only are they unpredictable, they behave impulsively at times as the part of their brain handling impulse control hasn’t matured yet.

Adults consider this to be naughty behaviour, but in truth, your child really isn’t misbehaving. He is just trying to get his point across by reacting in the way his brain is wired to.

So, the next time you think your child is acting up, take a deep breath and try to analyse things from his point of view before screaming at him. Here are ways that kids might appear to be naughty, when actually, they aren’t!

Next time you think your child is acting up, take a deep breath and try to analyse things from his point of view before screaming at him.

1. Behaving impulsively
This might sound familiar ― your little one tries to put something dirty that he has picked up from the floor into is mouth, even as you scream repeatedly at him not to do it. What about him picking up a rock and throwing it when you just told him not to do that. This behaviour isn’t naughty, your kiddo just hasn’t learnt self-control yet. “Most times, children do not wilfully oppose their parents just for the sake of it. Their wishes and motivations are just different from what parents expect of them,” explains Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist from Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness. Kids may sometimes also feel helpless because they lack freedom and choice. When they oppose their parents or defy their wishes, they are protesting this lack of control and freedom.

What can you do? Dr Lim suggests that parents be firm and consistent, because giving in when your kid whines or becomes defiant will only encourage such behaviour. Once they know that you will not change your mind, they will stop protesting. While you should still allow your child to speak his mind, do explain to him the rationale behind your decision.

2. Throwing a tantrum or being difficult
Next time bubba has a hissy fit, check if he is hungry or tired before assuming that he is just being difficult. Like adults, your mini-me gets more irritable when they feel uncomfortable or tired. However, unlike adults, they’ll whine and cry for your attention and help as they are unable to get what they want on their own. Perhaps they just want a snack or a cuddle, so check first before you scold them!

What can you do? Thankfully, this problem is easily solved when you appease your mini-me’s hunger pangs or give him a nap. As he may not be able to express himself, you’ll need to read his cues and find a solution that will soothe him.

3. Having meltdowns at inconvenient places
Your cherub is well-behaved  whenever you are at home. But why is it the moment you bring him out, he throws embarrassing temper tantrums at the most inconvenient time and place? He is not out to mortify you, he might just be overstimulated. “Overstimulation happens when kids are overwhelmed by experiences, sensations, noises and activities that are too much for them to cope with,” says Dr Lim. This causes them to have a meltdown or act out.

What can you do? “Simply remove the kid from the overstimulating environment for a period of time,” he suggests. Bringing your little sprout to a quiet and unstimulating corner or room for a few minutes will allow him to calm down and process things before heading out again.