Monday, March 7, 2011

Why does my child WANT to get in trouble? (Part 1)

Because they do! Here are a few reasons. First of all they might really need attention. Most children do not like negative attention, but if their emotional need for attention is not being met in a positive way, they will seek it out in a negative way. Getting yelled at is not fun, but in lieu of any other link with mom or dad, they will take what they can get.

You could also think of it like this. Children have a “hurt cup.” Every time something emotionally hurts them or they have an emotional need that consistently goes unmet, that cup gets filled a little more. When the cup is full it all comes out in crying or anger. Babies are born with almost no cup so they cry whenever they need anything. As the child grows the cup gets bigger. Toddler’s cups are still very small; this is why they regularly throw temper tantrums.

By the time they are school age they have decent size cups and have generally found a way to control themselves from “spilling” until it is at the top. Some children naturally have larger cups than others the same age. Whatever age, or cup size, when the cup is full, it is full and needs to get emptied. What that looks like is different for every child but is usually categorized as being “naughty” or “bad”.

The reason a child acts some days like he wants to get in trouble is because he senses that his cup is almost full and wants to empty it. He wants it empty but doesn’t have the knowledge, emotional maturity or tools to find a healthy outlet to release that pain. So he “acts out” doing things to push boundaries and your buttons subconsciously hoping that you will set a boundary for him so he can release the hurt inside by crying or getting angry.

Check out our post on Thursday and I will let you know what you can do to help your child release his hurt in an appropriate and healthy way.

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