kids getting in trouble

7 Ways Kids Can Get Into Trouble (And How to Handle It)

A friend of mine looked at his toddler son with amazement. He told the toddler not to touch the plants in the living room. He wasn’t sure if his son even understood the command. Then, he saw it happen. His son backed up slowly, nonchalantly looking around the room, headed toward the plants. When he got there, he reached back without looking and stroked the leaves with an innocent look that said, “I’m sure they won’t notice.” It was at that moment that my friend first thought his son might be trouble in the future. But kids getting in trouble is a given.

Parents, are you equipped to deal with your kids getting in trouble? All kids get into trouble at some point, so it’s a good idea to prepare for it. Here are 7 ways kids can get into trouble (and how to handle it when it happens).

1. Throwing Tantrums

When kids throw tantrums, the gut instinct is to react. How often have you seen a child screaming in the grocery store only to have his or her parent join in the yelling match? Instead, I encourage you not to react. That’s right—don’t react. Instead, simply walk away from your child’s tantrum. Ignoring the drama tells kids that tantrums are not an appropriate form of communication. They’ll quickly learn to express themselves in a calmer way.

2. Rebelling

Teenage rebellion has become quite the norm. It’s almost as if you’ve come to expect your teenager to rebel against your curfews, your dress standards, and your phone limitations. But, instead of casually brushing off your teen’s rebellion, it’s time to deal with it head on. You must understand that their rebellion is often rooted in a desire for attention. So be sure to praise your kids every chance you get in order to avoid seeing them seek your attention in inappropriate ways later on.

3. Ordering Others Around

You know the bossy child: the child who never shares toys, who pitches a fit when not in control, who always feels the need to order others around. Now there are two parts to dealing with your bossy child. First, you need to teach this kind of kid to be selfless. This means showing him or her the importance of sharing, of putting others first, and of listening to others. Second, you need to support these early signs of leadership—with a slight tweak. Tell your child how proud you are when you see your child’s desire to lead, but remind him or her that the best leaders are humble leaders.

4. Undermining Authority

As kids move into their teen years, they often are more inclined to undermine authority. They’ll become quicker to make underhanded comments about their teacher to get a laugh from the class. They’ll gossip about their coach to seem cool in front of their friends. They may even complain about your family rules when they’re inconvenienced. To confront this growing issue of teens’ indifference toward authority, you must teach them how to be respectful. Be sure your kids understand that people in authority (like their teachers, coaches, and parents) deserve their respect no matter what.

Creating a home environment of love, respect, and care will equip your child to love others away from home.

5. Bullying

Unfortunately, there are far too many outlets for bullying today. From physical bullying to emotional bullying to cyberbullying, the temptation for your kids to join in has only increased. But keeping your child from engaging in this dangerous activity begins at home. Creating a home environment of love, respect, and care will equip your child to love others well away from home.

6. Lying

Every child has told a lie at some point, and some are more habitual. So how can you convey to your kids the importance of being truthful? Well, it begins with you. When you mess up or forget something important, be honest with your kids about your mistake and then ask for forgiveness. Demonstrating honesty, even in the tough times, is the best way for your kids to learn that honesty is the wisest decision. For more on the importance of being a good example to your kids, check out my blog 10 Ways Your Kids Are Watching You.

7. Making Excuses

I’m sure you’re familiar with your kids’ excessive excuses: Let me just finish this game first! Why make my bed if I’m just going to sleep in it tonight? He started it! The list goes on and on. But the root of many excuses is one thing: laziness. So to help your kids avoid this, replace their laziness with responsibility. Each time they try to use an excuse, give them an opportunity to be helpful—such as an extra chore or project. Helping kids see the results of their effort will teach them to be proud of their diligence.

Sound off: What are some other ways to handle kids getting in trouble? 

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some common ways to get into trouble? How do you think you can avoid it?”