Why Do Children Misbehave?

Children end up misbehaving at some point or the other during their growing years. While it is often called ‘disobedience’, some believe it to be a learning phase.

Why do children misbehave?

Children tend to misbehave due to numerous reasons:


1. Seek attention

Children may misbehave to seek attention that they crave from their parents and teachers. They may end up troubling their friends or their siblings, to attract the attention of the teachers/parents.

2. Out of anger

Misbehaviour arises when children try to get back at someone who has made them feel bad. This could be siblings, parents, friends or even teachers.

3. Due to different emotions

A child may behave badly when he/she is sad or anxious about something.

4. Stress or trauma

Children misbehave when they are stressed or are facing a trauma. A child may feel upset when he/she does not have any control over a person/situation. Peer pressure is another cause leading to misbehaviour.

5. Age related behaviour

Most often, misbehaviour is due to a child’s age or stage of development. Younger children are known to misbehave and be disobedient.

6. Student-teacher relationship

Children misbehave when they are unable to connect with a teacher. They also tend to misbehave to express their displeasure for a subject or a teacher.

7. Lack of confidence

Children may feel inadequate and may end up bragging, boasting or fighting with others. They may even withdraw themselves from any interaction due to low confidence. Parents and teachers can address this by motivating the children.

8. Mimic others

Children mimic the behaviour around them. A misbehaviour could be something they picked up from their peers, friends or even parents.



How to control misbehaviour?

Misbehaviour is bad, but it can be controlled by taking the following steps:


1. Develop a connect with children

Parents and teachers can talk to the children and develop a connect with them. Disconnect between children and parents/teachers is one of the main reasons for mood swings in children. Bridging the gap by talking and spending time with each other is essential to develop connect.

2. Play with them

The best way to understand a child is to play with him/her. According to research, children express their emotions in a better way when playing, than mere communication.

3. Help children overcome their emotions

Children often throw tantrums and it is advised to help them sort the issue by being compassionate and understanding. Parents/teachers can spend time with the child, trying to understand things from his/her perspective before helping him/her.

4. Give children the space

Misbehaviour is more of an emotional outburst and hence, the children should be given space and encouragement to get over it.

5. Talk the issues

Parents and teachers can ask the children to talk about any issues bothering them. Discussing the concerns is an effective way to resolve the issues.

6. Control emotions

Teachers and parents need to control their emotions while tackling a child who misbehaves. Any anger shown towards the child may further damage the relationship.


Tips to Discipline children in the classroom:

Children tend to misbehave in the classroom as well. Teachers can follow certain tips to bring about discipline in the classroom:

1. Do not resort to punishing

Irrespective of any misbehaviour in the classroom, it is advised not to resort to punishment until it is absolutely necessary. Negative reinforcements like punishment will only worsen a child’s behaviour.

2. Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcements include words of praise and motivation. Teachers can encourage the students to let go of their bad behaviour and praise them for their good behaviour.

3.Guide the children

Children often look up to their teachers and parents for guidance. Teachers can guide the students and set an example on how to behave, what to do and what not to do.

4. Prevent bad behaviour

Teachers can prevent bad behaviour by talking to the children as and when any issue arises. Issues like stress, bullying and emotional distress should be addressed immediately.

5. Treat all children equally

Favouritism is an aspect that usually leads to misbehaviour. Teachers can avoid having favourites in the classroom and can treat all the children equally.


Despite the tantrums, it is important for the teachers/parents to understand that misbehaviour can be easily overcome by being affectionate towards the child and by encouraging him/her to behave.