Every house has different house rules. Could be; no running, no jumping on furniture, no yelling, no horseplay, outdoor toys stay outside… But kids break the house rules quite often, and it’s especially difficult for toddlers to comprehend these rules.
Most of the times, kids understand us in the first time when we tell them what is expected of them. Yet, they test our limits.
So, WHY does my toddler choose to disobey your house rules and why does your toddler push the limits you have set?
Short Answer: Kids learn by making decisions, and not by following directions.
Long answer: Follows…
Since they learn from taking actions it’s very difficult for them to listen to us.
And, it takes time and patience from our side to lead them to the path that is socially acceptable and safe for them aka house Rules.
[bctt tweet=”Kids learn by making decisions, and not by following directions.”]
Why Do Kids Break House Rules?
Experimenting is like an explanation to kids.
They learn by experimenting, it’s truly their inner instinct to do things in a random way to understand them better.
Doing things in random ways is unacceptable to us, but they learn that “it’s unacceptable” by doing it, and not by listening to us.
In other words; they do what we asked them not to do, to know the WHY behind your instructions. It helps them make a connection, between the action and result.
Unfortunately, you can’t always let them experiment, with safety issues and socially unacceptable behaviors. That’s where setting limits come.
And, you can only redirect to follow the limits till they stop doing what they are doing.
Mom Tip: If you tell them the WHY behind your instruction in the first time, they are quicker to understand (but there’s no guarantee).
Kids love to flaunt what they learn
For us throwing things around is a nuisance.
For kids it mesmerizing that when they let something go with a force, it falls on the floor. They are learning the law of gravity, without knowing it.
They are proud of the newly learned skill (yup..to throw, that’s a skill for them).
So either they are practicing, or flaunting or expressing their happiness by using that skill. They feel empowered by doing it.
I know it sounds very odd, how can someone express their happiness by throwing, spitting, or kicking. But that’s how kids are, they find pleasures in simple things.
To understand your toddler’s point of view: Think of something new you just learned. Let’s say you just found an amazing recipe for a new dish, don’t you feel like making it for every potluck or every week for dinner?
For me, it’s language skill. Whenever I learn a new word I use it a lot in random sentences! It just comes out naturally in my speech until I catch myself overusing it.
Everything is fun and game.
Very often we yell when they misbehave, and kids think that’s funny.
It’s a game for them.
They think it’s funny when you get angry and start talking to them in a higher pitch.
I know it’s very frustrating for adults (it sure is for me) when someone laughs while we’re angry.
But, you see, kids raise their pitch when they are excited and playful.
They do know that mom yells when she’s angry, but a lot of times — especially when they are feeling playful, they think you’re yelling it’s because you are feeling playful too.
You are very important to kids, they want to be with you ALL THE TIME.
Yet, some other times; it’s their way to gain your attention. They know what pushes your buttons very well, they have lived their entire life with you!
My son does this very often when he sees mom’s not listening or paying attention to him, he goes for his baby sister. He knows if he hurts her, I’ll drop everything and come to her rescue, to him he understands “if I hurt the baby, mom comes to me”.
Key To having them Follow the House Rules
The Key is Consistency and Calm attitude.
When you are consistent with your expectations they realize mom’s the in-charge. And knowing this that an adult is the in-charge is actually more comforting to them, no matter how much it looks like they’re defiant and want things their way.
Example: I remember when my son for 8ish months old, he would go for the laptop charger and would want to put it in his mouth.
I redirected him to not doing it for at least 5 mins (don’t even know how many time I stopped him).
Very calmly I kept telling him, “It’s dangerous for you, I won’t let you put it in your mouth”; there were frustration and persistence from his side, but that all subsided after we were done.
And he never put the cord in his mouth again!
I love this Quote from L.R. Knost’s Book
“When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not join their chaos.
House Rules are difficult for kids, BUT only till they realize mom’s the in charge and she means them. Once they understand this they’re happy to work within the limits.
I understand redirecting kids is hard work, and sometimes it feels like the only conversations you have all day with your kids is “I won’t let you do this or that”.
Believe me, all that patience is worth it, and you will be able to connect the dots in hindsight.
How does your child misbehave? Let’s talk in the comments below and find a solution!