PARENTS: Understanding our Child’s Behaviour

Understanding our Child’s Behaviour

            Raising a child is no easy task and developing a positive and nurturing environment for our children is often easier said than done. Life is stressful, busy and we don’t always have the time that we need for our children. When we see their behaviour acting up we need to do our best to remain calm and not to overreact. As children grow up they are “trying out” behaviour to see how it feels and to learn the boundaries of life and of the people around them. If we want to raise children who are positive and resilient we have to understand their behaviour and to address the negative behaviour when it arises so that we may guide them toward more successful ends over the long term.

    The following chart gives examples of some common behaviour that is found in children, methods of recognizing what is wrong, and ways of addressing the behaviour once we know it is there.


Child’s Behaviour

The Way They Make Me Feel

Solution to the Behaviour

Attention Seeking


This behaviour is solved by ignoring the negative behaviour of the child and praising their positive behaviour, or the behaviour that we wish them to have.

Control Seeking


Children who are seeking control, or power, need to be given a choice between two options and the time to consider those options. For example: “You can begin cleaning your room by collecting up your dirty laundry or by making your bed.   I’ll give you a minute to make up your mind.”

The child needs to approach a problem as if they decided to get there themselves, even if you have limited their scope of what their possible options are.

Control with Violence

Angry / Scared

This is usually a learned behaviour and requires the same treatment as a control-seeking child while developing strategies for coping with the violent outbursts.   Help the child find ways to separate themselves from a situation when they find that they are getting angry and to think, or breathe their way through the moment.


The child seems to go unnoticed.

This child generally has a very low point of self-esteem and requires a lot of praise. Compliment them on everything from how they look to how they are doing any activity.   Praise and more praise.



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