How to Understand My Child Better? An Expert's Guide.
Children are like a Rubik’s cube. Sometimes you can get all the colors together, other times it is difficult to comprehend the pattern. It is completely normal to be a confused parent struggling to understand the child’s behavior. No two children under one roof are alike and their unique behavior can puzzle the parent and caretaker. Luckily, Hakeem has cracked the code, for these might be some of the most common reasons for your child acting out:
Note: Children too can be understood and these are tried and tested pieces of advice from the top psychologists. Howsoever, it is important to consult a specialist to best understand the child’s needs.
1. When they’re tired
Children are still growing and most of the time, rather than asking for ‘some rest’ or realizing that they need to sleep, they act out by weeping, bursting out or not performing their best. The best way to understand if your child is tired or not, monitor his/her sleeping patterns and ability to complete tasks. Remember, some tasks can be draining for one child and not the other. If they’re tired all the time without a reason, consult a pediatrician.
2. When they’re hungry
It’s easy to crack this one. When we’re running low on blood sugar, we too get cranky. Your child might not even understand that he/she is craving for food. The best way to rid your child of hunger pangs is not only to feed him/her at appropriate times but also to feed him/her with the appropriate amount of healthy food. Some children act out because they want crisps or their favorite unhealthy treat rather than their veggies and it’s important to not give into that. Make their meals fun and have a nutritionist make their meal plan solely according to their body’s needs to prevent child obesity.
3. When something is on their mind
Your child needs attention and it is important to ‘talk things out’ as a family before they happen or when they start happening. Children take time adapting to changes and can act out because of not understanding what’s happening around them. When making decisions, include your child’s input to make him feel important and loved. Remember, your child’s mental health is just as important as yours.
4. When they’re afraid
The fear doesn’t necessarily have to be concerning. Your child can be afraid of a bad grade, a clown, or even the dark. These phobias are completely normal when growing up. However, when not addressed they can traumatize the child and it is important to make the child feel safe around you and the premises of the house. Also, talk about your fears with the child so that they understand that being afraid is normal and that it can go away.
5. When they’re picking up your cues
Children mirror their parents. Maybe, you’re in a toxic relationship and your child is being impacted by that. Or, maybe there’s a habit that your partner or your other child has that the child has picked up. If you want decent behavior around the house, you need to show it to your child. If you feel that your marriage is putting a strain in your bond with your child, opt for marriage counseling.
6. When they’re influenced
We live in the era of modern technology and children can easily be influenced by virtual happenings. Enable parental controls or keep a check on what your child has access to. Similarly, your child spends time with his/her friends, at school or someplace else, and communicate with your child to see what he/she is acquiring from where.
Read: Screen Time for Children. Yay or Nay?
7. When they’re sad
Most of us think little of a child’s gloomy face thinking that nothing major could be going on that a lollipop or a day out can’t solve but the truth is that children too can get sad so when you find your child’s smile upside down, give him/her the needed attention instead of brushing it off.
8. When they’re angry
Instead of answering anger with anger, try to understand what has them fumed in the first place. A survey taken in Germany suggested that most five-year-olds were angry because of an un-kept promise that the parents didn’t even recall and were hence, acting out in different ways. Sometimes things happen that are out of your control - things in life that one cannot change, so it is important to help your child deal with the anger through meaningful mediums such as communication, sports, and even art therapy.
9. When they’re curious
Humans are curious beings and children who have still years ahead to explore and understand the world are even more curious. They might be acting out because they don’t understand something or feel threatened, angry or upset by it. Remember, communication is key and never get frustrated answering your child’s questions.
10. When they’re rebellious
We understand that the world works through rules, obligations, and regulations which as members of it, we have to abide by but the children at young ages possibly can’t know this. Every now and then, they will experiment by acting out and being rebels, and this can be controlled through two things: one, you have to make them fully understand why something is forbidden and the consequences of going against the rule, and two, instead of punishing them for doing wrong, reward them for their good behavior so they stay on track.
Remember, you too were once a child and children are empty canvases observing, exploring, and deciphering the world around them. Not every day they will be joyful, obedient creatures and that’s perfectly fine!
Recommended read: Here’s How Art Therapy Can Benefit Your Child
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