Sometimes we don’t understand why some children are naughty, challenging, disrespectful, or misbehave and disobey, while others are quite the opposite. Often we hear that these children are just seeking attention. However, there are other factors that can contribute to the child’s misbehaviour.


If parents are unable to resolve their conflicts, it will impact on the family life stability and their ability to pay attention to or nurture their children. In fact, there are children who are purposely naughty so parents will turn on their naughtiness rather than keep fighting each other, to prevent their parents from splitting up. This is evident in the Domestic Violence Family.

  • Different brain development and function

Different brain development and function can cause these children to be unable to sit still, lack self-control, disturb others, lack concentration or unable to stay focused, have difficulty following instructions, day-dream, feel bored easily, dare to take risks and be mischievous.

  • Different personality

There are children who are outspoken and dare to speak their mind, and there are children who are more introverted, quiet, and obey instructions because they scared of being in trouble by their parents or teachers.

  • Too much attention

Often parents, teachers and even some professionals give too much attention to their naughtiness, which is what they want and will, therefore, encourage them to misbehave even more. Labelling them as “naughty” will make them not eager to change and it can impact on the way we approach them too.


Here are some practical steps that can help you manage better:

  1. Accept the child for who they are

Every child wants to be accepted for who they are. When they feel accepted, they feel loved. Saying  “I love you” is easy, but to accept the challenging child is much harder. If what we say is not congruent with our actions, they will feel rejected and that can encourage them to be even naughtier. Being accepted for who they are can often bring some “healing” to their pain and hurt. However, how can we accept them if we fell like we’ve had enough or are close to giving up? The only way to be able to accept them is if you can still see their positive side or their strengths, e.g. they have perseverance, are clever and creative, never give up, dare to take risks, etc.

  1. Use their strengths

Give some responsibility according to their strengths and it will help them to feel trusted and important, hence they are more willing to be cooperative with us.

  1. Pay attention when they are in good behaviour

Often we get caught up with their misbehaviour and do not pay any attention when they are good. When we pay attention to when they are good, we give the message to them that they can get our attention when they behave well. Paying attention can be in verbal and non-verbal forms, e.g. “well done”, “that’s very helpful, thanks”, “that’s very kind of you”, giving a thumbs up, a firm touch on their shoulder, or a warm hug, etc.

  1. Talk heart to heart when they are good

Showing our interest in their world, what they are thinking and feeling, their thought processes and their reasoning, and vice versa, will help strengthen the relationship with them. When our relationship with them is strong, they will listen and pay attention to our instructions. Often we talk too much when they misbehave, which they most likely won’t pay any attention to. Discipline is effective when we and they are in a calm situation.

  1. Set clear boundaries and be consistent

The more the child has difficulties or disabilities, the more they need boundaries (with consequences if they breach it) and consistency. Many parents fail on this issue and give up being consistent just to stop the child’s whining or tantrum, which gives the message that they can keep whining or chucking their tantrums because they know that their parents will give in at the end. Being inconsistent will confuse the child even more and therefore encourage them to continue misbehaving. Although being consistent can be exhausting, but it will have a huge positive impact in the long run, making our parenting easier and benefiting their future.

  1. Self-care

As parents, we need self-care to recuperate from the busy-ness of life and the challenges in parenting. Similar to parenting needing consistency, so does self-care. It doesn’t need to be something big, and often doing small things for yourself regularly will have a massive impact, e.g. taking a short walk each day, exercising, reading a chapter of a book, small hobbies like knitting or crocheting or making cards, etc.


Remember, you are not alone. Parenting is not easy and it is worth to seek professional help rather than continuing to struggle with your parenting.