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Developmental Issues that Affect Behavior

by Karen Miller
September/October 1996
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/developmental-issues-that-affect-behavior/5011149/

As every teacher knows, it is very frustrating to have children with difficult behaviors in the group. They embarrass us in front of colleagues and parents. They spoil our plans. We resent that they take our attention away from other children, and it can take much effort making other children safe from the aggressor. On a bad day, it is easy to blame the victim.

A child's difficult behaviors are really calls for help. We must ask ourselves: What is going on? Why is this child motivated to act in this way? How does the situation look from the child's point of view? What are her goals with this behavior? Sometimes adults misread the child's goals because we project our own adult thinking onto the situation. For instance, toddlers don't lay traps to purposely embarrass adults. Infants don't purposely cry in the middle of the night to annoy parents. Young children act out of more immediate needs.

When analyzing the child's motivation and how to respond, it can be helpful to consider some develop-mental issues that influence how children act.

Vulnerability

Children are vulnerable and dependent! They learn that they depend ...

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