why our kids misbehave

Posted on Posted in Parenting

Another message from facebook:

hi ms. jenn, i just stumbled upon this video link and i thought of sharing with you and want to know your thoughts. questionable though
http://happychildguide.com/presentation/v1/how-to-get-your-child-to-listen_1/

 

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I clicked on the link and watched the video presentation for about 15 minutes and decided i didn’t want to buy the book they were selling. There are a lot of new books out there on parenting and it is quite tricky to choose what to read and apply. I always use one filter to choose which books to read : the Word of God. For this particular book, though I didn’t read the whole material, there were 2 points the author raised from the 15-min presentation that to me are questionable: ( I will discuss the other point on my next blog)

1. The real reason why kids misbehave is found in the child’s brain chemistry. When a child experiences stress, there is an increase of cortisol in the brain and therefore, they are unable to think clearly. An increase in cortisol will cause a child to be hyperactive, argumentative, defiant, annoyingly whiney, throw tantrums and not listen and even become physically aggressive and violent. Whenever cortisol level goes down, children will listen, behave and relate better to the world around them.

(Again, I wanna make it clear that I didn’t read the whole book, and this is not a book review. I am basing my comments on the stuff I heard from the video presentation alone.)

I feel the point stated above is a bit off in 2 counts.

First is, though I am not a neuroscientist, and I am sure that there are things that happen in our brain whenever we are stressed, the real issue is not in the brain, but in the heart. The book talks about “Scientific Tricks to Stop Misbehavior”. Any parenting method that doesn’t address the heart, but only focuses on external behavior falls short. It is just like putting a band aid on the wound but not really treating the infection.

Matthew 15:19
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”
Luke 6:45
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

Our kids sin because they are sinners. When a child grabs a toy from another, it is because there is selfishness in his heart. When a child hits another, it is because there is anger in his heart. Our kids need a Savior who will transform their hearts to be more like Him. We need to introduce our children to Jesus.

Second, we need to teach our kids to behave even in the midst of stress. Parents these days have overly used stress as an excuse for their children’s misbehavior… “Oh, he’s just sleepy” or “he’s hungry.” As much as we try as parents to be sensitive to our children’s needs, we need to teach them to do what is right inspite of their circumstances. I remember Joseph, when he was seduced everyday by Mrs. Potiphar, he still stood by what was right, inspite of the fact that his stress levels were off the charts… he was forsaken by his brothers, sold into slavery, working in a foreign land, (seemingly) forgotten by his God… yet he did not misbehave, but did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. A lot of criminals have committed their crimes because they were stressed… maybe one desperately needed money for his wife’s cancer, or another needed to feed his kids. But stress is not an excuse.

John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Even Jesus made it clear that trouble will be a part of our lives. But if we help our children cultivate a relationship with Jesus, they will know how to overcome.

The most important thing we need to do as parents is to introduce our kids to their Creator. It is not about external behavior. It is about what happens in the heart. It is about teaching our kids to surrender their lives to our God and loving Him and pleasing Him in everything. A changed heart results in the right behavior. If our kids understand that their lives are to honor God, they will strive to do it…even under stress.


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