If you are a parent, you have probably experienced this embarrassing moment in the grocery aisle or local department store. You are rushing to gather the evening’s dinner items or replenish the household necessities while your child treats everyone in earshot to a mega meltdown. If you are fortunate, another veteran parent will offer a sympathetic smile. If you are not so lucky, you will be subjected to glares and snide comments about your child’s behavior or your parenting skills. No doubt about it, kids can act up and display aggravating and naughty behavior. But children are not just miniature adults, and many of those behaviors, while frustrating, are developmentally appropriate.
10. Lack of Impulse Control
You may have noticed your child suddenly reaching for that forbidden cookie or pulling his sister’s hair. While adults have the ability to think through the consequences of their actions, this trait is not inherent in children. A lot of times young children will know a behavior is off-limits, but their brains have not matured to the point where they are able to control their actions. While the prefrontal cortex isn’t fully developed until age 25, there are steps you can take to help your child develop impulse control. Psychology Today recommends building trust, modeling self-control, and allowing safe opportunities for your child to practice impulse control.
9. Reaction to Overstimulation
If your child has ever had a meltdown due to bright lights, loud music, and lively crowds, then you know what overstimulation can lead to. Sometimes the very activities we plan as treats for our children, such as a visit to an amusement park, can leave them overwhelmed and agitated. Our desire to involve them in play dates, sports activities, and learning opportunities can leave them feeling rushed and cranky. If your child is often irritable and overwhelmed, try balancing fun activities with downtime. A quiet evening spent reading books or an afternoon spent lying on the grass gazing at clouds can be soothing and meaningful to both you and your child.