Everything has a beginning, and it is no surprise that children’s misbehaviors have it too. Many times, disguised as “mischief” or “tantrums”, the little ones begin to show behaviors or to act in undesirable ways, upsetting and frustrating their parents and caregivers in general.
Parents continually tell me about their offspring’s aggressive behaviors seeking professional help, desperate trying to find magic solutions or simple answers to stop the snowball that has been growing. But honestly, there is not a unique piece of advice regarding parenting, it is a topic that we could never stop inquiring about.
So, if you find your two-year-old daughter sticking her fingers into the electrical outlets on the wall; your five-year-old son throws his toys when he does not want to go to kindergarten; or they call you from school because your ten-year-old boy is bullying other students, this will not be the end of it.
Misbehaviors appear from a very early age, and they do not stop until we, as parents, are able to put an end to them. What may seem small to you today and that will disappear as your child grows up, probably will not disappear. What makes you feel tired or lazy to correct today will probably continue to repeat itself, getting worse and affecting children’s social development; children who will become adolescents and then adults.
It is time to take actions as parents. However, in order to act, it is essential to know the root of the problem. So, I hope I can help you understand how you could be wasting vital time that could make your children become men and women for good in the future.
Why is your child misbehaving? What is the root of the problem?
Everything has a consequence in life, please record this in your mind. That reckless little girl who placed her fingers where she was not supposed to place them, in the future, could be someone clueless or forgetful. The same happens with the child who does not want to go to class or the one who causes problems at school.
You will understand that they are behaviors that must be stopped before they escalate in severity, but it takes us to the same dilemma, why do children do all these actions? Are they unaware of them? Do they do it unintentionally? Perhaps my answer will surprise you, but, still, children are more intelligent than you think.
To understand what I mean, we need to delve into the term Purposive behavior or intentional behavior. According to psychiatrist Alfred Adler, all social behavior will lead to a specific purpose. Basically, the professional believed that people do not act randomly, human behavior does not exist without a reason that explains it. But on the contrary, it is a chain of actions that will work so that certain objectives can be achieved.
While individuals may not be aware of the link between goals and behaviors, the link is still there, it still exists, and has the effect with which it is originated.
With all this in mind, the initial question remains: why do children behave this way? That intention behind the behavior is to get our attention. If you do not think that children use our attention as some kind of secret weapon, just analyze the following approach: you perform an action, the action fulfils a purpose, would you not repeat the action? Of course you would, over and over again until it stops generating results. This logical sequence is the same one child have at very young ages.
Why do our children seek our attention?
When a child comes out of his/her mother’s womb, he/she will do so yearning to feel loved and accepted, and for this, he/she will need attention. But, such attention, according to the ethologist Konrad Lorenz, is derived from a biological need, which is demonstrated through the principle of imprinting.
Imprinting refers to a rapid learning that has occurred in a critical phase of life. It is explained through the famous experiment of the ducklings. When a duckling is born, it will consider the animal or object it sees first as its “mother”, it may see the mother right after this happening, but it will not consider it as such.
Attachment to the mother figure explains itself as the need to survive in this world. The first source of love, security, and teaching on how to feed. Ducks and humans, as strange as it may sound, are similar, since infants are inseparable from their mothers during lactation.
Every little piece of attention is absorbed by babies in those months, they practically become sponges. And, later, they will copy the behaviors that it demonstrates. At this stage, children are shapeable to good examples, to the love that is given to them and, above all, the positive attention that is given to them, as well as the education. This is the reason why a child will be able to learn a second language more easily in his/her first years of life.
Likewise, we must understand that we have been created to experience social connections, so when a mother or father does not pay attention to their children, these will need and seek it at all costs because they are experiencing a lack of acceptance, understanding and love. Although at first sight they act with repellency to displays of affection, or our presence, they will always be grateful within themselves for it.
Remember that everything that has been created by God is interconnected. We were created in His image and likeness, and we are designed to live in a community, because it is in a community where we are able to create transcendental bonds so that we can live a more stable and peaceful life. A society in which we serve to constantly wants us to give and receive love.
It is extremely important to know the emotional and psychological basis that comprise the foundation of the individuals in our society. The experiences we live at an early age will determine our perception of reality as adults and therefore our actions in the face of each situation or challenge that we experience throughout our lives. God wants us to be happy adults, it has always been His plan, that we live interpersonal relationships that fill us with happiness and that we have a full and happy relationship with Him.
I ask you then, did you know these concepts? Do you consider that experiences you lived throughout your childhood have determined your actions up to the present? Share your answers and your opinion with us in the comments section of this post. God bless you.