Camino de Singapore: When Children Misbehave

Photo by https://unsplash.com/@phammi

Does your child misbehave? I’m sure the answer to that is YES! All children misbehave from time to time. Sometimes we smile at their antics and think they are cute. Other times, they affect our peace of mind so much that we erupt like a volcano.

But why do children misbehave? This good article gives 10 reasons why. I list them down here.

1.        Seeking attention
2.        Imitation
3.        Testing limits
4.        Lack of skills
5.        Attempts at independence
6.        Big emotions they cannot handle
7.        Unmet needs
8.        Power and control
9.        Learned misbehaviour
10.      Underlying mental health issues

Most parents would be able to relate to some, if not all of the above reasons. And I am sure that we can add more reasons to this list from our experiences.

Perhaps a much better question is to ask ourselves: What do we do when our kids misbehave? To cane or not to cane? It is a polarising topic among parents and I am sure there are many good arguments for caning and against it.

However, physical punishment is not the only way to effect discipline. There are other ways. As Scripture says, “For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”. (Ecclesiastes 3, ESV)

As children grow, their needs change. They constantly need to learn from their parents and their experiences. The heart of the child is the battleground. I believe disciplining children is the same as teaching them good habits or good behaviour.

This is why my wife and I came up with a lot of family traditions that we use to teach our sons our values and faith. It is not easy, but we fight tooth and nail to keep them going. In fact, my wife gave up a promising career in the IT industry to ensure those traditions stay in the hearts of our children. It is hard and we have made many sacrifices. Yet, it is written that “love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”. (1 Corinthians 13:7, ESV)

We have to change the lens through which we look at why we do things. That way, we can come up with creative solutions. Otherwise, when we end up with “misbehaving” children, and our decision will only amount to answering the question “to cane or not to cane”.


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Manolo L. Fetalvero is a husband, father of three boys, and the IT Manager of Caritas Singapore. He loves listening to classical music and sings R&B songs. His favourite singers are Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.