Center for child development

Common Causes Why Children Misbehave

Children are what they are, that is children. It is often unnecessary to expect them to act and behave as adults do. At time the impetus nature of young minds cause them to be falling outside the standards set by the adults. It is thus necessary to allow a certain amount of freedom to behave and act even in the presence of the elders.

There could be a number of reasons that children fall foul of behavior expected by the grownups. Discussed in brief are some common behavioral traits that are usually termed as unacceptable by the general society.

Children seeking attention

One of the main reasons that children stray away from good behavior is to seek attention of the parents or who so ever is seen to be in charge. Displaying bad behavior is at times the best means to bring attention on to themselves as they have seen in the past. This could be attributed to the patterns established earlier when they have behaved poorly.

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Precedence in child behavior is important in establishing behavioral patterns. It is important that parents do not establish behavioral patterns themselves that reinforces the bad behavior by children. At times yelling at the top of the voice is sure to bring control but the children are bound to repeat the behavior to just to get the parent to shout or loose cool.

Children getting restless

It is not easy for young minds to remain quiet for long periods of time. This is due to the inherent nature of children that they need to be kept occupied most of the time. There are times when children tend to get restless. Most of the time, this period of restlessness is preceded by extended time of enforced quietness. Thus it is advisable that children are not kept quiet for large periods of time and they must be allowed some space for being themselves.

There are occasions when bad health could cause restlessness. In children, ill health is usually accompanied by quiet behavior or an overactive boisterous behavior. Thus when children gets restless, it must be checked if they are running a temperature or some other health symptom. With young minds, they might not be mature enough to express their discomfiture verbally as yet.

Children imitating others

Children are good at imitating others most of the time. So, if any adult members of the family have been displaying behavior that is unacceptable, then the children are soon to pick up on this trait without actually being conscious about it. This is usually a good feature when used positively to learn things but can be a real nuisance otherwise.

There are occasions when a child could also be imitating another child as well. This is not done consciously but is conditioned to doing so by the attention it brings to them. Thus a response pattern that tries to remove the reinforcing pattern that behavior brings with it must be adopted at all times.


With the endless possibilities that child behavior is capable of taking, people often wonder why the children does a particular behavioral habit so often. The answer could well be in the response that the parents and adults adopt to such behavior. Thus conditioning our behavior to respond more suitably to such behavior is what is best desired.

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