Is my Child’s Behavior Normal? What’s Wrong with my Parenting?
It feels like parents have worked up a great deal of courage to contact us and say, “My child does this. It makes me want to scream (or cry). Is this normal?”
99% of the time, it is normal. It is normal that kids misbehave.
We do it too as adults – we make mistakes, we test the rules and we learn things from those behaviors.
When our kids misbehave, it is an opportunity for us to see what they need to learn next.
This article from The Onion highlights the importance of knowing what’s normal.
So what is misbehavior?
Actions or words that are disrespectful or ignore others’ rights
Behavior that is dangerous to the child or others
Refusal to cooperate when the child knows how to cooperate.
That’s the key – is the child able to cooperate?
If a parent called us and said,
“My child can barely hold a spoon and when he eats,
he throws food on the table, and the floor.
I end up feeding him much of what he eats. Is this normal?”
Well, if the child is 8 months old, this behavior makes a lot of sense. He doesn’t know any better. We can teach him.
BUT if the child is a normally functioning 4 year old, who knows how to feed himself and isn’t cooperating, this is a misbehavior. We know what he needs to learn and we can figure out how to teach him.
Much of the time, our kids’ behavior has little to do with us and a lot to do with them. It’s about something that happened to them, or that they need to learn. As parents, our job is to recognize the behavior (or misbehavior), find out what strategies our child needs to learn and then to figure out how to teach it.
Want to know what’s normal? Check out our free recording of IS THIS NORMAL?