Interpreting Misbehavior In Kids

As a parent, when your child misbehaves for seemingly no reason, you may be tempted to throw your arms up in the air and ask, “Why? Why are you doing this?” While it may seem like there is no explanation for your child’s behavior, it is important to remember that toddlers communicate through behavior. Realizing this can help us better respond to children and better meet their needs.

In today’s article, Montessori Educational Centers would like to share with you some information and reminders for when trying to understand a child’s misbehavior. If you are in the Omaha area and are looking for an exceptional Montessori daycare and education facility for your child, contact us today. Schedule your tour here.

Behavior Is A Form Of Communication

As we mentioned, we all communicate through behavior. While adults may yawn when bored at work, an infant may cry when wet or a toddler may start hitting when he or she feels cheated. We all know this to be true. However, with toddlers, it can be easy to forget. Whether it is because of their lack of verbal skills or emotional awareness, children act out when they don’t feel understood. It has become commonplace to dismiss children acting out as a form of trying to get attention, and it should, therefore, just be ignored. While there is some truth to this, simply ignoring shouldn’t be the default response. Sometimes children need to feel significant and like they belong, not ignored.

There Can Be Many Reasons For One Type Of Behavior

Acting out and misbehaving is often an attempt to send a message that something is not right. However, this does not necessarily mean that just one thing is wrong. Sometimes it can be a combination of things that are eliciting these strong emotions. They may be hungry, tired, thirsty, wet, annoyed, irritated — you get the point. If your child is trying to communicate something over and over again, but these needs keep going unmet, you can expect them to turn to problem behavior as a way of sending a clear message. As adults, it is important to be able to find meaning in nonsensical behavior.

Support, Not Punishment

Once we, as parents, understand that children are communicating through their behavior, we can better respond to their needs and emotions. This will both improve communication and make children feel more respected. When they detect this respect and their needs are being met, they will often behave better. Although when caught up in the moment, it may seem fitting and even slightly relieving to yell at your child and punish them, it does not give children the support they need and it does not help foster an alternative way to act and solve problems. Opting for a more supportive approach can demonstrate to children healthy problem-solving tactics. After all, children learn a lot from the daily behaviors of the adults in their lives.

Before you respond to your child’s misbehavior with frustration or discipline, keep this information in mind. Strive to be patient, and seek ways to connect before you immediately start to correct. For more information on understanding and respecting child behavior, check out this PBS article and this article by

If you are looking for some of the best daycares in Omaha, check out the Omaha Montessori Educational Centers. From daycares to preschools to elementary schools, we have a network of seven Educational Centers throughout the Omaha area, serving children 6 weeks through 12-years old. Read more about us and contact us today to schedule a tour of one of our facilities.

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