Action: Why is my child behaving this way, what unmet needs does he or she have, and what specific things can I do to help him or her behave better?
Primary Causes of Misbehavior
This child has experienced many hurts and is now hurting back through this behavior.
This behavior may be caused by a severe lack of self-esteem. Such actions can be a means to hide lack of confidence in self.
Primary Needs Being Revealed
This child needs a great deal of help in establishing relationships with peers and, especially, adults.
Escape from Pain
This child may have had some painful experiences with adults.
Secondary Needs Being Revealed
Actions to Take
This child is acting out very aggressive behavior and needs help to redirect such behavior.
Someone needs to reach out to this child and develop and maintain a strong association. This child needs a close adult friend.
If this child could gain some power in positive ways, he or she might make some adjustment in behavior toward others.
This child may be practicing a form of independence, but not doing very well. If the child is given the opportunity to take some responsibility, he or she may make an adjustment in behavior.
- Never react personally to what the snotty child says. Your reaction to this child can affect how your other children will react.
- Don't become fearful, feel threatened, or think you're alone in your feelings—you are not. Be aware that this child isn't feeling very good either. If a person doesn't feel very good about himself or herself, it's difficult for him or her to feel good about others. This is, in a nutshell, the problem of the snotty child.
- Think about the things you do like about your child. This may be difficult at times because your child is so difficult at times. But you must remain positive, or your personal feelings will prevent success.
- In all situations, confront this child privately. Public handling is almost a reward because it gives the child a chance to exert power and autonomy for all to see.
- Privately and firmly, tell your child exactly what he or she is doing. However, rather than attack, begin by asking questions. Say, "I love you and I want you to be happy. And I know that, until you feel better about yourself, you're not going to be able to be nice to yourself or anybody else." Then ask, "What is causing your frustrations? What can I do to help you?"
- Never generalize when describing the snotty behavior. Always make sure your child understands what you are saying. To do so, ask questions. Then give specific help. Say, "You must change the tone of your voice immediately. It hurts people to have you talk in such a manner." Or say, "You cannot use such words as ‘stupid' or ‘weird.' They offend people. Do you understand?"
- Once your child acknowledges what he or she is doing, make specific suggestions that will help him or her in future activities. For example, you might want to arrange a signal that will let your child know that he or she is falling back into old behavior patterns. However, always give positive feedback when your child responds to your signals. Let him or her know that a change in behavior will make a difference with you and with others.