We often get asked this question. Why are my kids angels when they are at school, at church or at the neighbors, but turn into little monsters when they are at home? The first thing we say is, “Congratulations, you have taught your children how to behave when they are away from home.” However, this does not answer the question as to why they misbehave when they are at home.
REASONS FOR MISBEHAVIOR
- Lack of parental role modeling: Parents may not be good role models at home.
- Stress between parents. Kids pick it up.
- Favoritism by parents between children.
- Not have enough physical activity at home to burn off excess energy.
- No expectations of them at home to occupy themselves with creative activities. Such pursuits give them a sense of accomplishment and the opportunity for praise.
KIDS NEED ORDER NOT CHAOSThe first point to make is that there are outside influences on them when they are out. Schools have clear expectations and structure. There is pressure from both teachers and other kids to abide by the rules. Kids may also be on their best behavior when they are out because parents are much more conscious of their kids’ behavior in other company and will correct them more quickly. The behavior may reflect on the family! Home is a place where feelings can safely be expressed, frustration is aired, people are forced to live in close quarters, and where brothers and sisters get on each other’s nerves and into each other’s stuff. Home is a place where it all hangs out.
The question then is, should misbehavior be acceptable just because it is home? Should families accept a chaotic, noisy household? If you could describe the ideal home environment, what would it be? I would want a positive, harmonious, productive and caring environment where we could all feel accepted and valued as individuals, while still being a close-knit family unit. I am sure every family would want that. It is not just a dream, but can easily become a reality for every family.
KIDS NEED STRUCTUREChildren will be well behaved in a structured environment with clear expectations, boundaries and consequences for negative behavior. Structure, routine and consistency creates the security that kids need. It allows them to think positively, proactively and, therefore, productively. Productivity keeps them busy and promotes a sense of purpose.
KIDS NEED ATTENTIONKids may not be given the attention they need by parents, both in quality and quantity time. Kids may be hungry because of unhealthy food and irregular meal times. They may be tired because no set bed times are in place, and too much television is watched. The family often does not have in place the necessary values or principles that teach the importance of respect, loyalty, forgiveness, trust, honesty, obedience and integrity.
You can achieve a peaceful home with happy, healthy children if you take an honest look at why your kids are misbehaving and make amends to meet these needs.
Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families