Children often show their emotions through bad behavior. It’s how they show how angry, confused, or unhappy they are feeling. And they tend to unload that pain and anger right on the people they love. Since this is your way of making your needs heard, trying to understand them is the first step in dealing with their misbehavior.
It is very difficult for the child to express in words the emotions he feels. It is very difficult to express anger, or jealousy, or rejection, or abandonment, or fear, or even guilt. Also, the most difficult thing for them is to understand what they are feeling in their chest and explain it. They won’t be able to do it naturally, because communicating effectively is something you learn!
When children struggle to understand these strong feelings, they often express them in a bad way. They will not be able to say: Dad, Mom, I am very angry, or I am jealous, or I am frustrated. Instead, for example, they argue over absurd things, that they do not like a meal they have always liked, that they are sleepy and do not want to do their homework, that they want to see a different television program than the one the whole family is watching. They slam doors, raise their voices, declare war on him, refusing to do things they have to do, responding with disrespect.
It is important to find the origin
It will not be very difficult to find the origin of their behavior. Just think a little and try to have empathy. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself: what changes have we had lately? new school? Another church? What change could be causing you anxiety or insecurity?
Perhaps the change comes from the parents themselves. Has anything changed in your relationship with your children? Have the schedules changed and now the family does not have dinner together as they did before? Or maybe the children don’t see them as loving as they used to, rather they see them angry and fighting all the time?
Maybe it’s something as simple as moving to a new home. I still remember once, how one of my children woke up at night scared, and we had to walk him around the house explaining and reminding him that this was his new home and that we were together.
Show them love and patience
Something very important is to explain the changes to them before they happen. But remember that just because you have explained it to them does not mean that they have accepted the change. Later doubts may arise and everything that they have not been able to process will come.
We will have to help them, patiently repeat and explain everything again. Keep in mind that the processing time will depend on the child’s age and temperament. Some will do it faster and others slower. Before moving house we had explained to our children about their new house, but one thing is to explain and another is to live it.
So the inappropriate behavior may be due to some change that the child does not understand. If so, it is very important to be prepared to meet your child’s need for security, love, and acceptance. In my son’s story, we had to meet his need for security, hugging him and repeating: “Mom and Dad are here with you and this is your new home.” That is why it is very important that, if you recognize that your children are adapting to some change, before getting angry or feeling incapable of their behavior, make them feel safe, be patient and hope to see results.