It’s a normal day. Nothing out of the ordinary or unusual, until…
You offer green grapes, for what you think is a harmless snack, but suddenly your child falls to the floor crying, with giant tears rolling down her cheek.
It’s like a switch flipped.
Frantically, you scan the environment. What happened? What changed? Was it something you said?
Confused, you scoop your child up onto your lap and take some deep breaths together. Perhaps what is happening with your child has nothing to do with your parenting. Here’s a list of 10 possible factors that may be impacting your child’s sudden misbehavior:
10 possible factors that can impact your child’s behavior:
Even a small change in a child’s bedtime routine can cause major disruptions in their sleep. Lack of quality sleep can impact a child’s ability to make good decisions and handle less than ideal situations in their everyday life.
2. Learning Challenges.
School is full of potential difficulties for kids. If your child is struggling with reading, math, visual tracking, auditory processing or any list of unseen or undiagnosed disorders, you are likely to see a change in behavior at home.
3. Blood Sugar.
Food plays a major role in your child’s behavior. You might notice it when your child is asking for yet another snack, notice their behavior changes minutes after eating candy, or have a crabby toddler after naptime.
With limited life experience, some children have difficulty identifying what’s wrong or explaining what hurts. Even older children who have the language to tell you they have a headache may tell you in the most un-loving way.
Social pressure starts early. Being left out on the playground, wearing the wrong color shirt, or carrying an outdated lunchbox can all impact how our kids feel about school. Hearing a rumor can cause a child to feel confused or even scared.
6. Big Feelings.
From infancy, kids are required to manage a variety of emotions. This wide range of feelings can be overwhelming for a little body. Until kids learn how to identify and manage these big feelings, life can seem pretty hard to handle.
Lights, sounds, activity, even smells can be too much for some kids. Situations like birthday parties or carnivals can turn a normally serene child into something wild. But for some kids, even a little change can be too much.
8. Lack of control over their environment.
From not being able to reach the counter to not being able to pick their bedtime, kids are in a constant battle for some say over their circumstances. Feeling powerless can definitely impact their behavior.
9. Growing up.
It’s hard to do. Kids are stuck between wanting to be older and still longing to be little. They want to experience new things, but are sometimes too immature and unprepared for the changes when they get the opportunity.
10. Needing time with you.
Ok, this one is kind of parenting-related, but it’s a biggie. Your kids are longing to have your undivided attention. They want to feel more important than your phone or your to-do list. They don’t usually ask for this connection; instead they whine, cry, pout or pull on your pant leg.
Keep your Cool for Them
Sometimes our kids’ behavior is a direct correlation to our parenting decisions. Think about the time when you say, “It’s time to leave the park!”
But sometimes it has nothing to do with us at all.
Even though you may not be able to prevent or prepare for these times of distress, keeping them in mind may help you respond with compassion and understanding.
After a quick cuddle and a little conversation, maybe you can finally serve those grapes.
Nicole Schwarz is a mom to 3 young girls, a Parent Coach with a License in Marriage and Family Therapy, and author of Positive Parenting for Imperfect Families. Find positive parenting tips and learn more about Parent Coaching on her blog, Imperfect Families.P.S. Are you looking for extra side income? I make over $85,000 a year blogging part-time—check out this easy step-by-step tutorial on how start a blog (no tech knowledge required).