behavior issues

5 Bad Kid Behavior Issues That You Need to Break Early

I hate going to the dentist. I know it’s necessary, but I always put it off. It is the last thing I want to spend money on. After several years of avoiding it, I was forced to make an appointment because of intense tooth pain. The result was exactly what I expected. Small cavities had grown into larger decay which eventually led to infection. Ultimately, smaller and cheaper cavity fixes turned into an expensive double root canal with two crowns. Routine checkups and maintenance would have prevented all of it.

In the same way, kids can develop bad habits early. Engaging those habits with consistent correction and guidance can be tiring. It can take thought and energy that can wear parents out. However, if left unchecked, they can grow into major problems down the line. It is important to engage the problem now in order to save them and us from more intense pain in the future. Here are some bad kid behavioral issues that you need to break early.

1. Lying

This leads to a life of secrecy. Growth and maturity come when we deal honestly with our mistakes and shortcomings. We learn responsibility by owning it. Others see us as dependable, faithful, and authentic. Trust is built leading to healthy relationships. Lying has the opposite effect. Distrust and immaturity take root. On a personal level, in our house, my kids know that this offense receives the steepest consequence because it, more than anything, causes relational separation in the family.

2. Disrespectful to Authority

We are all people under authority in some way or another. Parents, teachers, government officials, elders, bosses, and police officers are some of the authorities in our lives. An attitude of disrespecting authority creates a dangerous habit in a child. It will lead to an attitude of entitlement and a lack of proper humility. They will end up suffering for it as their options are limited. Children need to learn a respectful disposition to those in authority over them. This doesn’t mean they can’t disagree with that authority or challenge it, particularly when the authority abuses its power. However, it is important to teach children to always submit to or challenge authority with grace and respect.

3. Unkind Words

Words are important. Clearly the words we choose affect those they are directed towards. Unkind words cause deep wounds in people; however, they can also lead our general attitude or our feelings about someone. I once made a decision to go an entire year saying only positive things about someone I had a hard time getting along with. After the year, I felt completely different about that person. There may be time to disagree, argue, or even fight, but there is never a reason to be unkind. The earlier our kids develop a vocabulary of kind words the better.

4. Aggressive Behavior

Intervene as soon as possible to prevent other children or animals from being hurt. There are many reasons for a child exhibiting aggressive behavior. It is important to find out the reason by observing and listening. Many times, it is a coping mechanism in dealing with stress or feelings of insecurity. If the behavior is allowed or reinforced, it will continue. It is best to stop it immediately when it happens, remain calm, listen to the child, and enforce consistent nonphysical consequences.

5. Laziness

Children need to be taught to take responsibility for themselves early. [Tweet This] Otherwise they can come to expect that their parents will do everything for them. Instilling a good work ethic starts by giving them chores to do around the house at a young age. Start by teaching them to make their bed and clean up their toys daily. When they develop a habit of taking care of their things, add a chore pertaining to a common area. Encourage and reward their work only when it deserves it. This will teach them to value and strive for good work. Starting as early as possible will make all the difference.

Sound Off

What is the hardest bad behavior you have confronted in your child?

BJ Foster

BJ Foster is the Director of Content Creation for All Pro Dad and a married father of two.

  • Robert Brock

    The hardest bad behavior I have confronted with my 3-year old is him telling us “no” when we need him to do something (brush his teeth, put on his shoes, bath time, etc). We try to practice some patience when this happens and explain that mom and dad know what’s best for him and that he needs to listen to mom and dad. Once we have that talk he is usually very receptive and seems to understand.

  • Clearanceman2 .

    No kidding, stuff that’s cute at 3 is horrible at 15.

  • Providential Pathways Ministry

    #2 should be clarified.

    I was taught to respect & obey authority. But, it only got be abused and molested over most of my life! So, BEFORE you teach a child to respect & obey authority you need to teach a child that authority should always be questioned before it’s respected.

    It doesn’t matter if the authority is a parent, step parent, grandparent, teacher, preacher, boss or policeman. I was beaten, molested or otherwise abused by all of the above. Your child needs to be taught certain boundaries & restrictions are completely acceptable when it comes to submitting to any authority.

    • BJ_Foster

      Very good and important point. I am terribly sorry to hear that you were violated in such a way, particularly from people that should have been caring for your well being the most. Thank you for your willingness to share.

  • Rob Thorpe

    “However, it is important to teach children to challenge authority with grace and respect.” – seriously? Feeling like you have to explain your decision to your young child is nonsense. If the policeman says stop – you stop. If the boss says “be back at 1:00pm – you’re back at 1:00pm. In my day, that was called “because I said so”.

    “Avoiding non-physical consequences” also avoids what the Bible clearly teaches. Room for abuse? Sure. But we can’t obey only the parts of the Bible we like? God knows much better than we do what our children need and He is not making holy suggestions.
    Appreciate the heart, but respectfully disagree (having raised 3 sons who are all followers of Christ, married and have children of their own).

    • Leslie Templeton

      If authority tells you to jump off a cliff, do you really want your sons jumping off a cliff?

  • Cassandra Sabrina Powell

    What if you’ve had trouble breaking those behaviors. What do you do then?

  • Rob C

    Re #1…a rule that we use in our house is “never punish honesty”. It gives the kids that extra protection to tell us what’s going on without fear, or rather without reprisal. Yes there are consequences for actions, but no additional punishment. So if he breaks the lamp and comes and tells us right away, he may be made to buy the new one but no groundling or privilege loss. So far it’s one of my favorite rules in our house.

  • Honordads

    Dynamite list. #2 (and pretty much all the rest) is a lot easier when Mom demonstrates and reinforces respect for Dad’s authority at home. I know, old school. But it works.

    • Leslie Templeton

      No, this enforces gender norms and can actually restrict the children, and make males believe they are superior to women, and females that they are inferior to men. This can lead to daughters thinking being raped is okay because of “male authority.” Many experts say the healthiest relationship to demonstrate is where both partners have equal authority, and one does not dominate another. That way any gender child learns to speak up for wants or diswants, and feel in control of their environment, being respectful to one another.

    • Cherie Sheffer

      This comment immediately inspired frustration and disappointment because it reinforces the stereotype that all Christian men are patriarchal, misogynistic relics of a very sad time. HOWEVER, I have to give an unknown person the benefit of the doubt and, on second glance, I agree with you. I agree AS LONG as the same is true vice versa. Mom and Dad should both reinforce and respect the other’s authority as heads of the family.

Subscribe to the Play of the Day for daily advice, videos and updates on how to be better dad.

Sorry. No data so far.

lists to love by
Father and Kids Experience
Every Man's Bible