ur children seem to act out at the worst times. They might be angels at home, but as soon as we're surrounded by witnesses, they display their worst. But, what if these behaviors aren't our kids misbehaving at all? According to Psychology Today, many of the most frustrating behaviors are actually developmentally appropriate stages. Knowing this might not make them less annoying, but it could help parents manage their own reactions.
1. They can't control their impulses.
Everyone is gathered around to sing happy birthday, and then that one kid comes running in from off-camera because he CANNOT help himself. He must blow out the candles! It’s not his birthday. This was not his moment. Naughty kid?
Turns out, not naughty.
Even this kid who suddenly decides to attack is simply the victim of his own lack of impulse control. Frustrating for parents? Absolutely! The parts of the brain that govern self-control aren’t fully developed until the end of adolescence. Remembering that our kids can’t control their impulses because their brains aren’t fully developed yet, and won’t be for awhile, can help parents understand why Timmy threw the ball immediately after you told him to stop, and why Sally smacked Grandma. They’re not bad. They’re just born that way.
2. They get overstimulated.
What parent hasn’t experienced a kid having a complete meltdown right when they should be the happiest kid ever? It’s a birthday party! Kid falls apart. It’s Christmas! Kid falls apart. Why do they do this to us?
Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting, explains that kids experience a "cumulative stress reaction."
We parents are trying to enrich our kids lives with a ton of activities, events, choices, and toys and it can be overwhelming for our children. Payne argues that kids need a great deal of unstructured down time built into their schedules to balance out the activity.
3. Kids are more sensitive to "core conditions" than adults are.
This means that they are irritable when they’re tired. They’re hangry when they’re hungry. They might be irate if too hot, and downright mean if their pants are uncomfortable of if they’re thirsty. Snacks are the key to happy parenting. Don’t be afraid to pre-feed your kids before a big event like Thanksgiving dinner.