Experts Say: Bad Behaviour

Have a kid who is misbehaving in school? Read on to find out how to deal with her behaviour.


I’ve been getting feedback from the teachers in my three-year-old girl’s preschool about her bad behaviour in class. She takes toys away from the other kids and doesn’t want to share them. She even hits them sometimes. I’ve tried arranging play dates with the other kids in hihers class, but she still acts the same way. What can I do about my daughter’s behaviour? 


Every behaviour has a precursor. Some common behaviour may be a desire for social attention, tangibles or activities, escape or avoidance and sensory stimulation. A brief description of each function is provided below.


Social attention: Sometimes a child may engage in a behaviour to gain a reaction from someone that they like. For example, a child may scream to get people to look at them.


Obtaining tangibles: Sometimes a child may want to obtain a tangible item or to do an activity that they desire. For example, a child may throw a tantrum in the supermarket to get parents to buy the item he wants but does not necessarily need.


Escape or avoidance: Behaviours can occur because the child may want to escape from something or someone. It becomes a means of avoidance. For example, a child might engage in aggressive behaviour just so her teachers will stop running academic tasks by him (hopefully!).


Sensory stimulation: Behaviours can also be self-pleasing. They may serve as an internal pleasing mechanism for the child, or a way to self-regulate. For example, a child may rock back and forth to make themselves less anxious.


It is important to find the trigger behind any form of aggressive behaviour. It is incorrect for any educator to refer behaviour as “bad” when the child is just three years old. Parents are strongly advised to seek dialogue with the school and teachers who come in contact with their child. All information gathered is invaluable and can help in understanding the child’s needs. In these situations, we aim for preventive measures as opposed to being reactive. Engaging a child psychologist or a paediatric occupational therapist may also help parents and educators within the school environment to work on a preventive plan to help everyone. Team work across the disciplines allows for sound integration and follow-up. Whatever the process, never ever give up on the child. Remember, children do not have the maturity and emotional literacy to express themselves unlike adults.


Question answered by:

Sharon Solomon

Founder and CEO

The Winstedt School



Thanks for sharing!