Skip to content

Health & Parenting

Why Your Child Acts That Way

Font Size
A
A
A
By Elizabeth B. Krieger
WebMD Feature

Just when you think your child is capable of acting almost "adult," or at least more mature than they used to be, they do something that makes you wonder what they're thinking.  

They stretch the truth, pretend they don’t hear you, or explode into tears seemingly over nothing. They tease and babble like they were still babies. Why? There are usually simple explanations and ways to head off these habits.

Fibbing

The lies may be little ("Yes, I made my bed!") to bigger ("No, I didn't hit my sister.") but you know that what you're hearing is far from the truth.

Why they do it: Because they fear the punishment; or because they have gotten away with it before and hope they can again; or because they don't want to disappoint you, says Michele Borba, PhD, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions.

Teasing

This is good-natured ribbing of friends, siblings, and other family members -- not bullying.

Why they do it: Because it's fun and can make the teaser feel powerful, says Dawn Huebner, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Exeter, N.H., and the creator of the What-to-Do Guides for Kids series.

What to do about it: Help your child know when they're going too far and how to be sensitive to other people's feelings.

When your child teases someone who doesn't like it, take her aside and ask her how her comments are making the other person feel. "Boost their sensitivity skills by encouraging her to look at the other child's reactions and her facial expressions," Borba says.

Of course, if the teasing is clearly going too far, you should step in to make sure the kids are safe. Then take them aside to talk about what happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
 
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
 
mother and daughter talking
Tool
child brushing his teeth
Slideshow
 
Sipping hot tea
Slideshow
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
Article
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
 
tissue box
Quiz
Child with adhd
Slideshow