Why do kids behave poorly?
According to Dr. Kevin Leman, all misbehavior is a quest for attention. If your children can’t get attention from you in positive ways, they’ll get it in negative ways.
There are four goals of misbehavior:
- Attention – “I only count when others notice me and serve me.”
- Power – “I only count when others do what I want them to do when I want them to do it.”
- Revenge – “I only count when I hurt others like I’ve been hurt.”
- Display of inadequacy – “I’m no good. I’m worth nothing. I can’t do anything right, so why try at all?”
Once you understand why your child misbehaves, the next important question is: what do you do about it?
First, listen and be supportive. Overlook your child’s misbehavior long enough to let them know that you love them. Ask what they’re feeling … then listen. Children want to know someone cares about them, not just their behavior.
Second, as much as possible, allow your child to experience the consequences of their poor choices. Don’t rescue them from bad decisions too early or too often. Hold them accountable by allowing reality to be their teacher.
Dr. Leman says that effective discipline is about balancing both love and consequences. Children thrive when their parents shower them with affirmation while expecting them to take responsibility for themselves.
There’s much more. Dr. Leman is joining us on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Understanding the Root of Your Child’s Misbehavior” to share how to uncover the root cause of your child’s whining, backtalking, and tantrums, and how to offer them love and acceptance without coddling them.
While you’re online, we’ve got a free parenting assessment for you that will quickly give you an overview of how your family is doing in several key areas as well as offer some suggestions on how you can improve the relationships in your home.
Before I close, I want to invite you to offer families practical help by supporting Focus on the Family. Real families like yours tune in to our Broadcast every day looking for hope and guidance – whether it’s couples on the brink of divorce, parents in need of solid biblical advice on everything from a strong-willed preschooler to a teen considering suicide, or expectant moms contemplating abortion.
If you haven’t donated to Focus on the Family lately, let me encourage you to give today. Generous friends are matching every donation you make to this ministry. Which means your gift will go twice as far toward rescuing hurting marriages, equipping parents, and giving families hope. For your gift of any amount, we’ll send you a copy of Dr. Leman’s great book, Why Your Kids Misbehave – And What to Do About It. For more information, give us a call at 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459) or visit our website.