Why is your child naughtier when she’s with you? Ask yourself these 6 questions

By Dr Richard C. Woolfson   — July 13, 2020
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    Strange but true: Your young child is naughtier when she is with you. Why doesn’t she “bully” other people?

    For starters, there is the novelty factor. The relative unfamiliarity of another person can have a very stabilising effect on a kid’s behaviour. For example, if your aunt cared for your child every day, her excitement at being with her would soon wear off. You can be sure she’ll misbehave with her occasionally, as well.

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    Secondly, time is a factor. Unlike others, you can’t hand her back after a few hours. They also don’t spend the whole day with your kid, dealing with every challenge she meets and ensuring that her schedule runs according to plan.

    (Also read: How to discipline your baby: 10 golden rules that work)

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    Finally, others may be able to provide a broader range of activities in an environment that also has more social opportunities. That’s one reason your kid is usually better behaved at preschool than she is at home.

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    If her behaviour is always different with you, and if it concerns you, consider if you need to change the way you manage her. Ask yourself the following questions:

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  • Do I expect too much of my child?
    5 / 10 Do I expect too much of my child?

    If you do, it’s likely that she’ll fail to meet your expectations. Think about the standard of behaviour you want her to meet.

    It may be unrealistic, for example, to expect her to sit quietly for an hour and play on her own, or for her to finish her meal quickly without messing with her food.

    (Also read: 6 toddler feeding problems: How you can solve them)

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  • Do I allow my rules to be flexible?
    6 / 10 Do I allow my rules to be flexible?

    Of course, you need clear limits on your child’s behaviour – these guidelines help her learn to think about herself and others.

    But flexibility can be useful, for instance, when she is tired or feeling unwell. Don’t be afraid to bend the rules occasionally, particularly when you are on a family outing.

    (Also read: What to do when your baby throws tantrum in public)

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  • Do I use more reward than punishment?
    7 / 10 Do I use more reward than punishment?

    Although punishment can be appropriate at times when your child misbehaves, try to use rewards more frequently. Punishments focus on things your little one did wrong, whereas rewards point to what she did right. So, learn to balance both.

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  • Do I give my child enough attention?
    8 / 10 Do I give my child enough attention?

    Children thrive on it, and if your kid thinks that she doesn’t get enough attention from you, she may resort to misbehaviour.

    As far as she is concerned, negative attention is better than no attention at all. So don’t wait until your little one does something wrong before spending time with her.

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  • Do I criticise my child excessively?
    9 / 10 Do I criticise my child excessively?

    Living with a young child can be very demanding and it is very easy to fall into a negative relationship, especially if she is challenging.

    You might end up criticising and nagging her more than you expected. Try to adopt a positive approach.

    (Also read: Dealing with anger towards your toddler)

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  • Do I pack in too much during the day?
    10 / 10 Do I pack in too much during the day?

    Your kid needs plenty of stimulation, so she enjoys having a busy life. If his schedule is too hectic, however, she’ll become irritable and uncooperative despite your good intentions. In this case, doing less during the day could lead to an improvement in her behaviour.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

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