Behaviour: Behavior or behaviour is the range of actions and mannerisms made by organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with their environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the physical environment. It is the response of the system or organism to various stimuli or inputs, whether internal or external, conscious or subconscious, overt or covert, and voluntary or involuntary.

‘It wouldn’t do for us all to be the same!’ my Dad used to say. It’s amazing the silly little things you remember from someone who is no longer around. And scary how much you forget. But this little phrase has stuck with me over the years. Whenever I have a differing of opinions with someone, or start to be Mrs Judgey Mcjudgerson, I think to myself how dull life would be if we were all the same. How boring relationships and friendships could be if we didn’t all bring a myriad of different things into them. There are certainly positive things that come out of us all being different, and then there are undoubtedly some negative things. And if there is one area where everyone is doing it differently, it’s parenting. How we sleep, how we feed, how we school, or discipline our children, we all do it differently. But do we respect that? Often no. Parents are often very quick to criticise others and judge them on situations they know nothing about. I was recently judged by someone regarding my daughter’s behaviour, someone who probably doesn’t to this day realise that they made me feel judged. It’s not nice. It made me cry and do something I hate, which is doubt myself. They didn’t know my background, or my daughter’s and judged me on a two minute conversation I’d had with her. Anyway, I digress. The point I wanted to discuss in this post about us all being different, is about the differing ways we discipline our children, and whether our methods help our children to understand their actions, or shame them into feeling bad?

Yesterday I was involved in a Twitter chat about discipline and for a while it was difficult to work out if we were singing from the same hymn sheet or not, but we were both very respectful of the other’s opinions, using them to back up our own. It got me thinking. Disciplining children is often a hot topic for debate, many thinking that it should be simply black and white, right or wrong, and then there are others who adopt a kindness approach where they try and understand the children’s feelings and use this to help them understand that what they have done maybe wrong. Discipline is often historically though of as something which is based upon rewards and consequences. Children are often either praised for what they have done right, or disciplined for something they have done wrong. But are they ever allowed to have their feelings justified? Are they ever allowed to explain why they did something? Talk about how they felt? And if they were, would this be a more effective way of teaching them about what is/is not acceptable behaviour? Bad behaviour often stems from fear, or anger, or confusion. It often stems from an emotion, or an inability to control an emotion. And more often than not it stems from curiosity, from wondering ‘what would happen if?’ Maybe instead of telling your child off for them flooding the bathroom from experimenting with water, you could dunk them in the bath with all the tools they need to explore this further. Instead of criticising them for breaking a toy on purpose, explain that this isn’t how we treat our belongings, and then give them something they can rip, tear, break so they continue to learn and discover. Obviously hurting other people doesn’t fall into this category, but if they are frustrated and need to kick or punch or bite, give them something they can do this to. And then talk about their feelings when they’ve calmed down. Justify those feelings, tell them you know they are feeling angry, but that they must never hurt others. Bottling up angry feelings doesn’t ever have a good outcome, and a tantrum is simply a child trying to communicate to us how they feel.

Children in my opinion have an innate need to please, and crave endless attention. If they are often referred to as naughty and through being ‘naughty’ is how they get all of their attention, is it any wonder that they spiral into a succession of wrong doings or become fearful of experimenting, of using their imagination and nurturing their natural curiosity? Wouldn’t it be easier to say that what they are DOING is ‘naughty,’ not that THEY are naughty? (Personally I don’t even like to use the word naughty!) Sadly I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation that we’ve misjudged, and have fallen into the trap of making empty threats (I did this once, never again!) that are never going to be carried out. I think we need to be consistent, children need to know what is and isn’t acceptable, but they also need to understand why these things are or aren’t acceptable, and then they need to be taught to recognise, understand and manage their feelings.

And finally…NEVER forget the power of LEADING BY EXAMPLE, the more you show your children how to treat others, how to behave in certain situations and how to look after their belongings…then the more they will DO THE SAME!

So, what are your thoughts on discipline and behaviour?

12 Comments on Behaviour

  1. Carolynne
    April 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm (10 years ago)

    Hiya, I loved this post. I have terrible guilt sometimes when I’ve ‘lost my temper’ with one of my children. Because that’s exactly what it is….lashing out because I’ve lost control. Of course, at times they push us and it can’t be helped but you’re so right to say we should always, if possible, try to stay calm and talk to our child. Shouting just causes them to shout back anyway. Doesn’t achieve anything. I’ve also got a friend who doesn’t discipline AT ALL. Her small son is very rude and naughty and has hurt my child on numerous occasions which has resulted in me not wanting to see them as much. Which is sad. Ps my mum used to say your dad’s little phrase too! xx

    • InstinctiveMum
      April 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm (10 years ago)

      Ooo it’s hard isn’t it, I’ve seen friends grow apart because of the way their children behave. Shame, but understandable. Thank you for reading. Xx

  2. dragonsflypoppy
    April 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm (10 years ago)

    I agree entirely with the point about a child’s anger. Obviously we need to ensure that they don’t direct it at others and kick or punch them, but to tell them off about being angry is not validating their feelings. I often say to my boy, that’s OK to feel angry it’s what you do about it that counts. He’s old enough now (and sufficiently interested in numbers) to do the count to 10 thing…. But I also try to get him to look at it from different angles – how might he feel to be kicked/punched etc…
    It’s a thorny issue, but one thing I totally agree with, is that it’s not up to me to judge how other parents do their discipling (unless it is hurting their child), and I would expect the same in return.

    Blimey what a grown up post and comment! Can we go back to discussing David Tennant now??!!

    Fab post xx

    • InstinctiveMum
      April 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm (10 years ago)

      Ahh I was just coming to reply and Tennant popped up on my tele! Mmmmm! Almost makes me want to get Virgin Media lol! *drifts off into a David filled daydream* 😉 Thank you for reading lovely! Xx

  3. farfromhomemama
    April 25, 2013 at 5:24 pm (10 years ago)

    It really is each to their own and also depends on the child. My toddler misbehaves when he is tired. Very rarely for any other reason. Because of this, we can second guess when it’s going to happen and how to deal with it. We have to keep him calm, remove any excitement and simply explain why certain behaviour is not acceptable. I believe that all kids want to be good; it’s circumstances that make them otherwise.

    • InstinctiveMum
      April 25, 2013 at 6:14 pm (10 years ago)

      Very true, it is each to their own, and teaching your toddler ways to handle his behaviour when he is tired is brilliant. Sadly though we can’t always keep one step ahead of them and there will be times when they misbehave, but it’s all part of learning and growing up! And I still think their emotions and natural curiosity also have a part to play in their behaviour, not just circumstances. Thank you for reading.

  4. Jaime Oliver
    April 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm (10 years ago)

    my daughter who is 12 still craves attention and its difficult sometime to keep my mouth shout and not bite. I think she seeks more attention that her 2 yr old brother !! gggrrrrhhhh

    • InstinctiveMum
      April 30, 2013 at 7:16 am (10 years ago)

      I hear ya! People assume my 11 year old is the ‘easiest’ of my children, this is most definitely not the case! 😉

  5. Verily Victoria Vocalises
    April 26, 2013 at 2:04 pm (10 years ago)

    I agree with a lot of your points. Whenever Grace has done something naughty, I have always discussed it with her and tried to find out why, what has happened and whether she understands what she did was wrong. For example, whenever she did something naughty at nursery, I would back up the arers, never tell her off as she had already been told off but we would discuss why it had happened and why it was naughty. Thank you for l;inking this post up to PoCoLo 🙂 x

  6. ❤Janglitz❤ (@janglitz)
    April 26, 2013 at 2:06 pm (10 years ago)

    Very true..I have two boys and worked with kids over ten years..often children don’t know how to handle all of these emotions that they feel…. and need to be taught….its a shame people only see right/wrong children are so much more complex then that x fab post

    • InstinctiveMum
      April 30, 2013 at 7:17 am (10 years ago)

      Thank you! Interestingly the same could be applied to adults I think, more needs to be done to understand the emotions behind some of their behaviours too maybe? x


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