Understanding Difficult Behaviour

People have different ideas about what is good and bad behaviour. What you consider to be bad behaviour might seem normal to other parents, and the other way round.

Your circumstances can affect how you judge your child’s behaviour. For example, it’s much harder for you to cope with your child’s mess if you haven’t got much space.

Parents also react to their children’s behaviour in different ways. Some are stricter than others and some are more patient.

Your child’s character will also make a difference. For example, some children react to stress by being noisy and wanting extra attention. Others withdraw and hide away.

Possible reasons for difficult behaviour

There are many reasons for difficult behaviour. Here are a few possibilities:

Any change in a child’s life can be difficult for them. This could be the birth of a new baby, moving house, a change of childminder, starting playgroup or something much smaller.

Children are quick to notice if you’re feeling upset or there are problems in the family. They may behave badly when you feel least able to cope. If you’re having problems don’t blame yourself, but don’t blame your child either if they react with difficult behaviour.

Sometimes your child may react in a particular way because of how you’ve handled a problem in the past. For example, if you’ve given your child sweets to keep them quiet at the shops, they may expect sweets every time you go there.

Your child might see a tantrum as a way of getting attention (even if it’s bad attention). They may wake up at night as a way of getting a cuddle and some company. Give them more attention when they’re behaving well and less when they’re being difficult.

Think about the times when your child’s behaviour is most difficult. Could it be because they’re tired, hungry, overexcited, frustrated or bored?

Further information

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Maya Expert Team