This is a continuation of the subject we discussed last Sunday, and we need to focus on a few more causes of bad behaviour among our children. When a child is ill they can misbehave themselves as a way of attracting attention to their illness.

Young children are not always able to effectively communicate with their parents so that they can know that they are unwell. They may be forced to behave badly as a way of drawing the parents attention to the pain they are enduring. Feeling hot, bothered, tired, hungry or thirsty may also have the same effect on a little child and they may behave badly as a result. A good parent will quickly try and improve the childs environmental circumstances in order to eliminate these causes of bad behaviour.

Another cause of bad behaviour among children is fear. When a child is afraid, they can resort to bad behaviour such as beating the mother in a manner that indicates that they want to get away from the situation that is causing them to fear. A child that is struck with fear of their surroundings cannot settle down and behave normally. Children that are old enough to be able to talk will often plead with their parent to take them home. When this fails to work they may resort to bad behaviour such as crying for no apparent reason, refusing to play with other children, or simply being sulky and moody. A good parent will try and remove the source of this fear so that the child may behave well. Poor parental example is probably on e of the major causes of bad behaviour. Children are by and large copy-cats, and they will imitate their own parents behaviour. If that behaviour is bad, then the children are inevitably going to be badly behaved. How many times have we heard some parents call their children Zibenzi (you fool), or insult the child thus, Pfutseke! some of these parents have the audacity to be surprised when the child says the same thing to other children or to them. They forget that they are themselves the sources of tha6t bad behaviour. Children will copy their parents good and bad behaviour alike. It is therefore incumbent upon every parent to behave well for the sake of their children.

We have already noted that children are always seeking the attention of their parents or minders, especially when they are not feeling well, or they are not comfortable with their environment. Attention seeking is therefore another cause of bad behaviour among children. For some reason, children are often of the view that good behaviour will often go unnoticed by their parents, but bad behaviour will quickly attract their attention. A good parent must always give their children due attention so that the children will not have to resort to bad behaviour in order to attract the parents attention. When we ignore our children when they demand our attention we basically force them to resort to bad behaviour.

Childrens bad behaviour can also be caused by power struggles among the children themselves. A child may be forced into bad behaviour in order to gain the upper hand in a power struggle. They may also mis-behave because of yet another cause of bad behaviour, namely revenge. These power games among children will need to be carefully watched and managed by the parents before they develop into serious forms of hatred. Sibling rivalries are common in some families, but good parents should be able to defuse them or ensure that they do not get out of hand. Sometimes a child may behave badly in order to impress friends. Good parents need to watch this sort of behaviour and ensure that the child is made to pay the price of their bad behaviour at some point. Happy parenting everybody.

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