Parenting Struggles: Dealing With "Destructive" Behaviour

It is human nature for children to misbehave from time to time. This attitude is a way of exploring the unknown, to learn yourself and your environment. How is that? Consequences arise from these actions, and these consequences are another way of learning.

But there will be a distinction between normal and abnormal behavior. It is how quickly you can perceive the signals and solve the problem. Next, we will discuss about:

  • types of child behavior,

  • parenting styles and how it affects a child,

  • influence between nature and / or nurture, and

  • possibility of eliminating bad behavior.

What you need to know about child behavior

Why is my child behaving “this way”? Is it just a phase or serious signs of abnormality? When will you know if it’s too much? These are some of the questions parents ask during a doctor visit.

First, you need to know the difference between normal and abnormal behavior. Children, especially those who are beginning to walk, are at a stage where they know what they like and what they don’t like. This is where they show independence and the ability to express themselves through actions.

Coincidentally, young children do not know how to control their emotions. They are still learning to be empathetic and patient. Now, not all young children are the same, some can control their emotions from the beginning, but others need guidance from parents.

Abnormal behavior is when your child’s attitude is excessive. Do you have tantrums more than three times a day? Or maybe your child hits, bites, and yells at everyone on a regular basis? There are some cases where your child does not respond well to discipline.

To know when to tolerate a certain attitude, you must know three types of behavior:

1. Normative

This type of behavior is the norm or acceptable attitude in society. It can include a child’s ability to clean toys, potty training, make friends, and many more.

2. Occasional

It is behavior that is only acceptable in certain circumstances. Like throwing tantrums during an uncomfortable event, not playing or eating while the child is sick, etc.

3. Destructive

Attitude of a child that is harmful to himself and others. It includes hitting other children, misbehaving in public, yelling or cursing parents, etc.

Parents’ response provokes child’s reaction

Do you feel that your child does not listen to you? Or does it react in a different way than you expected it to? From the title itself, have you reflected on the kind of reaction it shows to your child?

The behavior of a child is the reflection of the reaction of the parents. The type of parenting style you use can have a positive or negative impact on your child. How is that? Because the way you react is often copied by your son.

When a child witnesses how he talks to his husband / wife, his child behaves in the same way. You have doubts?

Well, how about the type of food your child eats? One parent eats everything, while the other is a picky eater, especially vegetables. The child will soon think that it is okay not to eat vegetables because one of the parents does not.

Now, how can you make your child like to eat vegetables when he sees that you are not eating them? Isn’t it hypocrisy? When it comes to attitude, your reaction has an effect. Here are three types of responses:

1. Ignore as a form of discipline

Parents believe that ignoring their child is the best parenting method. In a way, it can be useful, but only in certain situations. Ignoring your child during his tantrums will send a message that you are not tolerating his behavior or that you will not “buy” him.

The wrong way to use this is when your child is aggressively pulling your hair or not sharing his toys. If you use this type of parenting style, your child will interpret that it is okay to continue the action / that it is not wrong.

2. Active control

Being too controlling can backfire. If you are strict and scold your child every time he makes a mistake, he will be passive and become a rebel. Yes, this may be good, temporarily, because your child will want to avoid any punishment.

But sooner or later, your child won’t follow your orders or keep secrets from you. The strict parenting style can also develop a dependent child with low self-esteem.

3. Bidirectional trading

Realize that your child is adjusting to a new phase, the phase of learning more about what he feels and wants. If your child misbehaves, you would resort to talking it out by saying, “No, that’s not the right way” instead of “NO! Go and take your time now!”

The “time out” is only necessary when your child has repeated a certain misbehavior. So, as a way to avoid any repetition, you need to make sure to get the message across that doesn’t make the child feel accused or scolded.

As parents, be sure to control your emotions and expressions so as not to negatively affect your child’s attitude.

Nature or nurture: What is the most influential?

Many people debate the influence of the environment and genetics on an individual’s behavior. Nature, known as genetics, is seen as the reason why an individual reacts differently from others. While Nurture is also known as environmental effects.

What do you believe in? Is behavior and / or attitude affected by what a person experiences in their day-to-day life? However, is the cause through what you got from the ancestors?


There are studies that measured the influence of both factors. One case is about twins who were separated as soon as they emerged from their mother’s womb. Years later, they reunited and there were many similarities in the attitude of the twins.

Now, the environment in which they live is different from each other. One went to a prestigious university with a room of her own while the other stayed in foster care, sharing a room with 5 children and attending a public school. But why is there a similar attitude?

It’s because of genetics. Genetics play a very important role in the well-being of a person. Like disease and physical attributes, attitude can be passed on.


In the meantime, when it comes to the environment, you should consider several factors:

  • Interaction with different types of people,

  • Family circle and

  • Type of place or home.

Culture is a perfect example of environmental influence. Each group has different norms and beliefs, people follow this set of rules through observation. When one group of people look up while walking, others will too, and that is what we call the bystander effect.

If a child was taught to clean his room every day, the child will adapt it until he grows up. Instead of a child who was not taught to clean.

Now, how can we relate this to the destructive behavior of a child? Don’t limit yourself to just one side, be sure to study and find the possible causes of your child’s attitude.

Is it because you were too hard teaching your toddler (environment)? Or maybe your child has some kind of disorder (genetics)?

Is it too late to correct bad behavior?

Studies have found that once a person grows into their 30s and 40s, it will be difficult to change their behavior. It means that it is too late to renew because they got used to a certain pattern.

Cite, for example, a woman who is an impulsive shopper, one way to “change” this is by limiting her options. The truth is that you will not be able to eliminate that behavior completely, what you did was divert your attention to something else. This is different in the case of young children.

Young children between the ages of 18 months and 3 years are still “searching” for who they are. Therefore, there may be cases when the child suddenly vent his anger or throws all the toys he has.

As long as you don’t tolerate this type of behavior, it won’t stay that way forever. Is it possible to fix this? Of course! How?

1. No to “shame”

Embarrassing your child in front of friends and family is a form of embarrassment. Today, some parents post their children’s “punishments” as a way to teach them a lesson.

Shame won’t do your parent-child relationship any good, all it will do is create conflict.

2. Punishment is not the answer

Belts, clothes hangers, and sometimes a broom, is what some parents use to punish their children. Other forms of punishment are verbal for yelling while pointing the finger. Once a child witnesses a form of violence, they will do the same to something / someone else.

3. Put on your son’s shoes

Before yelling or doing something rash, put yourself in your child’s shoes and observe their perspective. What will they feel once they see you react in a certain way? People say that children will repeat the same behavior when you accuse / correct too much.

The best way is to teach your child how to behave by being a good example. It starts with you, you define your child’s behavior.

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