Understanding the “Why” of Children’s Behaviour

Before discussing effective ways to guide children’s behaviour, it is important to have some perspective on factors which can shape children’s behaviour.

Typically, young children do not “misbehave” without reason. Behaviour can be viewed as resulting from a variety of factors, which can help to give some perspective on why a young child may be acting a certain way.

Here are some things to consider when looking at children’s behaviour:

Together, these factors can help in understanding some of the reasoning behind children’s behaviours. Knowing this can help parents/caregivers address those situations which may be modifiable, such as hunger or need for control.

It can also help in framing and understanding the “why” behind the behaviours, instead of making false assumptions that the child is simply acting out. Usually, if you look hard enough and dig deep enough — there is often a “why”.

This is by no means an exhaustive list nor is it meant to tackle more complex and challenging behaviours, which may require a closer look; however, this is often a good starting point in understanding the “why” of children’s behaviour.


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