Few instances are scarier than a 3-year-old in the middle of a meltdown.

Examples of Bad Behavior in Kids

by Kathy Gleason

Bad behavior in kids can manifest in so many ways. Parents are often shocked at just how many ways their precious children can find to horrify them with behavior more fitting for a zoo or a seedy bar than a playground or classroom. Children will often act out in different ways depending on their age, temperament and environment.

1. Biting

Biting is common in toddlers and even sometimes in children a bit older. Often, kids bite because they don't yet have the words to express their feelings, according to KidsHealth.com. If your child bites, always check on and comfort the bitten party first. This way, biters see that biting gains sympathy and attention for the other party, not them. After the bite is washed off and taken care of, it's time to talk to the biter. For very young children, be clear and firm. Explain that biting hurts and is not a nice way to treat others. For older children, explain why biting is wrong and the consequences if it continues, such as not being able to play at a friend's or watch a favorite TV program.

2. Temper Tantrums

The temper tantrum: That uncontrollable yelling, kicking, crying and screaming that seems to always take place in public or in front of your mother-in-law. But you can reduce the chances of this kind of meltdown. Be consistent and firm. If a child throws a fit in the middle of a grocery store because she wants ice cream, it can seem easier to just get her the ice cream and make the screaming and all-eyes-on-you feeling stop. But this is a short-term answer. If you give in, she will remember next time that a temper tantrum got her what she wants. Remaining unmoved by temper tantrums will eventually teach her that there's no point, if she never gets what she wants. Give children choices in ways that they can reasonably have choices. For example, let your child choose what outfit to wear to school or whether to have cereal or toast with breakfast. This will make him feel as though he has control over something, at least. Reward kids for good behavior, ignoring the bad as much as possible. When he shares nicely with his brother, point that out and compliment him. Give young kids a warning when a transition is about to start. For example, give kids five minutes warning for bedtime or when it is time to leave for school.

3. Bullying

It's difficult for parents to accept that their own child may be a bully. To deal with bullying behavior, explain to the child why it's wrong and that he has other, more appropriate ways of dealing with his feelings. Use time-outs or take privileges away from children who bully as a punishment, but refrain from punishing with spankings or other physical means. This can hurt the child, and also teaches them to solve problems with violence. If bullying behavior is severe, consult with the child's pediatrician.

4. Swearing

Parents have different ideas of what constitutes a "bad word" as well as how acceptable it is to use those words. If kids swear and you find it unacceptable, your reaction should depend on the child's age. For toddlers, it's often best to just ignore it, as making a big deal over a word is likely to just make the word that much more fascinating for them. With older kids, explain that using certain words is disrespectful, particularly in school, or with family and other adults. Buy the child a thesaurus and encourage kids to look up replacement words for words you consider unacceptable.

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