Yesterday I brought my children over for a play-date with Charles who lives next door. Everybody is getting along playing, running, and having a great time when all of a sudden Charles has a meltdown. Throwing toys, crying, and starting to get physical with my son. Unfortunately, we had to cut the play-date short, much to the disappointment of my son.
There are a number of reasons why a child may act out. Just because a child acts out does not necessarily make them a bad child. There are a number of triggers or causes to why a child is acting out. Some are obvious, and others not so obvious.
But to find a solution, you must find the reason why the child may be acting out.
The Environment Around Them
Some children have sensory issues, that may cause them to act out. Children, especially those with autism, act out from having sensitivity towards the world around them. Noise, lights and other triggers could cause enough discomfort for them to lash out.
Fear can cause a child to behave negatively or to have a meltdown. Children are still learning how to deal with the world around them. They are still unaware of how to handle themselves in certain situations. Sometimes when a child feels helpless or afraid, that feeling could cause them to act out.
Some children act out just for attention. I remember one time my youngest was throwing a fit because his older brother gave him half of his cookie. He was upset because he wanted it to be the other half that his brother currently held. All I could do was shake my head and leave the room. One thing to remember is “Negative Attention is Still Attention.”
When a child feels unsure about themselves, this behavior can be a way of distracting you from there insecurities.
Children sometimes feel powerless, and one way that they will feel more in control is by negative behaviour because they are the ones that are in control for that period of time.
Sometimes it can be as simple as an overtired child. Make sure that your child is getting enough sleep nightly, and if at all possible have them lay down for a nap during the day.
Overall, outbursts, tantrums, and any negative behaviour are all a part of growing up. As your child grows and develops their own personality, it will be up to us as parents to help them navigate these challenges.
Here are some things you can do as a parent;
- Stay Calm
- Hear them out. Let them know that they can “talk about it” instead of “act it out.”
- Set limits to how far they can go with expressing themselves
- Monitor behavior, if the outburst gets worse or even physical seek medical advice immediately.
So again, trying to find solutions to these issues is half the battle, and a great support team around you makes it that much easier.
As far as that rescheduled play date with Charles, we have plans to get them together again tomorrow.