Children need love the most, when they deserve it the least

Children need love the most,
when they deserve it the least.

Controversial statement eh? Especially when Miss 4 has just cut the dogs hair, or Master 2 drew on the carpet with the texta or Miss 3 has put the car keys ‘somewhere’, when you need to leave now!

My statement still stands.

When children are misbehaving, it’s because they don’t know a better way to do it ie to use scissors ‘properly’ or that textas are for use on paper only.

I hear a lot of you saying: ‘Yes, s/he does know that! I’ve told her before!’


Let’s look at it from another angle– Let’s say that you are learning how to sew for the first time on sewing machine. If you were new to it, would you know how to thread the machine the correct way? Would you know how to lower the ‘foot’ ready to sew. As a beginner, probably not. You need a good instructor to show you, who then allows you to practise multiple times, knowing that you are bound to ‘forget’ and probably make quite a few botched jobs. And then, even when you are a bit better, every so often you’ll still make a mistake – eg you start to sew before you’ve put the fabric in properly.

Children are just the same. They don’t get it right the first time, and once they’ve mastered something reasonably well, it doesn’t mean that they will never make an error!


So when your children behaves poorly, this is when they most need you…

  • to be understanding (as to why they did it);
  • to tell them that was not the best way to act, AND;
  • to help them work out how to do it differently next time.

Eg “Kelsey, I can see you’ve used the scissors to cut Jaspers’ hair. We don’t cut Jaspers hair, he likes it long to stay warm. You can cut paper from the tray, like we’ve spoken about.”


This is all done without shouting. Yes, you’re probably annoyed that Jasper looks odd now, and yes, you’ve told her before what scissors are for. And yet from Kelsey’s perspective, she saw an opportunity to explore a new possibility – that she could cut Jasper’s hair. Speaking to her this way, will treat her respectfully, make it clear it is not okay, and importantly show or tell her what she can do instead. And the consequence is that you’d get Kelsey to clean up the mess. Our job as parents is to teach them how to do it properly when they behave poorly, not to punish them eg by yelling at them. Would you want me to yell at you when you botched the sewing job… even though I did explain it 3 times?


Another reason children misbehave, it that they are naturally curious – there is just soooo much to explore in this exciting world and yes that may include cutting the dog’s hair! What children are about, is exploration, curiosity and opportunity… the scissors were there (possibly on the bench where you left them) and the dog was lying there so still… just reeks of possibility!


Have you noticed that your children’s poor behaviour is ‘worse’ at certain times? Children will often misbehave, when they haven’t been getting enough of your attention. All children want our attention (ie to play with them or take them for a walk) and when we’ve been ‘too busy’ to spend that positive time with them, that’s often when children misbehave…. Because when they hit their brother, or make a mess, we will be there promptly dealing with it. They get the attention they desire, even if it’s negative attention! When you give children your undivided attention regularly, then poor behaviour decreases markedly. Give it a go… give them several 10 minute blocks of your time, to play lego, do some colouring-in or kick the ball around with them – you’ll be impressed with the change in overall behaviour – isn’t that worth 10 minutes of your time?


Let’s teach our children respectfully – that’s what good discipline is about!

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