By Erin Leyba. Image from iStock.
Many of kids’ so-called ‘bad’ behaviors are actually normal developmental acts of growing up.
1. They can’t control their impulses. Ever say to your kid, “Don’t throw that!” and they throw it anyway?
Research suggests the brain regions involved in self-control are immature at birth and don’t fully mature until the end of adolescence, which explains why developing self-control is a “long, slow process.”
What parents can do: Reminding ourselves that kids can’t always manage impulses (because their brains aren’t fully developed) can inspire gentler reactions to their behavior.
2. They experience overstimulation.
We take our kids to Target, the park, and their sister’s play in a single morning and inevitably see meltdowns, hyperactivity, or outright resistance. Jam-packed schedules, overstimulation, and exhaustion are hallmarks of modern family life.
What parents can do: When we build in plenty of quiet time, playtime, and rest time, children’s behavior often improves dramatically.
3. Kids’ physical needs affect their mood.
Ever been “hangry” or completely out of patience because you didn’t get enough sleep? Little kids are affected tenfold by such “core conditions” of being tired, hungry, thirsty, over-sugared, or sick.
What parents can do: Kids can’t always communicate or “help themselves” to a snack, a Tylenol, water, or a nap like adults can. Help them through routines and prep for when that schedule might get thrown off.