If you think about it, children are actually going through a lot as they grow up. They aren’t only learning about the things around them but also about the huge emotions they feel on the inside.
Everything for them is happening so rapidly and there is just so much new stuff to grasp and be curious about, that it can really stress them out and cause them to misbehave.
As parents, we know how frustrating it can be when our child misbehaves repeatedly and we’ve tried every trick in the book to manage that behaviour but, nothing seems to work.
Rather than handling the situation in the same way, getting zero results, and ending up more frustrated, maybe it’s time for parents to try a different step-by-step approach to manage their kids’ behaviour.
1. Look for the root cause
You might have heard the saying ‘everything happens for a reason. Well, it couldn’t be any truer in this case.
Your child isn’t intentionally trying to get on your nerves or stress you out. The reason they are misbehaving is because they are feeling such big feelings inside of them but they don’t have the skills yet to communicate them to you. Most young children are just beginning to learn self-regulation, problem-solving and impulse control so, in most cases, their behaviour will start improving as they develop these skills.
As frustrating as it can be for parents when their child misbehaves, they can take it as an opportunity to notice which skills their child is lacking and support them to build up that skill. For example, if children lack impulse control then their parents’ gently repeated and consistent feedback can help them develop healthier emotional habits.
2. Look in the mirror
It’s hard to admit but it’s not always the kids who are stressed or having emotional outbursts. It’s the parents too…and hey that’s ok! We are all only human and we have a limit!
Sometimes, we think we are triggered by our children’s misbehaviour, but in reality, there is so much more affecting our minds and hearts than how our kids are behaving.
It could be as simple as not getting enough sleep to something more complex as how we were raised by our own parents or preconceived notions on how good our child will be which causes frustration and disappointment towards our children.
It’s very important for parents to evaluate their own shortcomings and triggers before blaming their kids for being out of control. If you take out time to manage your own needs and emotions, you’ll see a better version of yourself and will feel better equipped to handle your child if he or she acts up.
3. Look into mindfulness
When children frequently start giving us a hard time, we start feeling ashamed, guilty and overall negative about ourselves and our parenting techniques. This in turn causes more conflicts with our kids instead of resolving them.
So it’s very important to remain kind to ourselves and our children when things seem to be spiraling out of control.
Practicing mindfulness exercises can prove to be a great tool to help kids and parents calm down and self-regulate when they are going through an emotional roller coaster.
It’s honestly a great way to spend time together as a family and build a deeper connection with each other as all of you learn to cope with those heightened emotions.
With the right help, guidance and tools, you and your child can work together to manage their behaviour more effectively
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About the Founder
Internationally Recognised Emotional Literacy & Mindfulness Expert Tenille Bentley is the founder of The Emotional Literacy and Mindfulness Academy and the author of the children’s emotional literacy books with Jazzy and Pinky and The Energy Ball. Giving children a wonderful introduction to understanding their emotions and what do with them.
Tenille has been featured on Channel 9 News and other major outlets. Her work has been recognised in the community by The Governor of Western Australia, The Prime Minister of Australia and Australian Financial Review.
As a child she experienced severe anxiety and emotional traumas as well as bullying which left her feeling isolated, and unable to understand why she was feeling the way she did. As an adult this impacted her ability to make healthy decisions because she didn’t have the tools to understand her emotions.
Which is why she is passionate about equipping parents with the tools to support their children to make better decisions in life and healthy ones to help support and create a balanced home life.