Behavior Problems that Get Children What They Want (and what to do about them) 2


boy yellingWhy is the child in this picture yelling? And, is it a problem? Is it his problem or someone else’s?

He is yelling because he wants his mother to hear him over the sound of the other children playing, and his mother is several yards away. It may drive his mother absolutely crazy because she wants him to walk over to where she is and speak to her politely. If she answers him and brings him the drink he is asking for, the odds are very good that he will yell out to her the next time he wants something.

Most people wouldn’t be too bothered by child yelling out a request. What if he was yelling a threat to his cousin that he was going to set him on fire? What if he was swearing at his grandfather because he was told to come inside and take a bath? Some behaviors are clearly unacceptable, yet, unless you have led a charmed life, you know children who fight, swear and are constantly causing problems for themselves and everyone around them.

A five-year-old that I know frequently fights with other children.

Ryan, Derrick and Donna each have two little cars they are moving across the floor, making ‘vroom vroom’ sounds. Ryan says,

“Derrick, give me the red one.”

Derrick holds it tighter, he has had experience with Ryan before,

“No, I had it first.”


Ryan starts to whine,

“Give it to me, I want it.”

Derrick shakes his head emphatically. Ryan lifts up both hands, holding his two cars, and smacks Derrick as hard as he can on the head. Derrick starts to cry, drops his cars and Ryan grabs the red one.
Donna’s mother walks over to them and asks sternly,

“Ryan, why did you hit Derrick?”


Ryan looks up at her and protests,

“I didn’t. I didn’t hit Derrick.”

“Yes, you did. I saw you.”


Ryan shakes his head,

“No, I didn’t.”


Donna’s mother sighs,

“Ryan, I think it is time for you to go home now, but first, give Derrick his red car back.”

Ryan hides his hand behind his back, swearing,

“I don’t have it.”


As Donna’s mother walks Ryan home, she feels sorry for his mother, who she truly likes, and shudders to imagine what Ryan will be like as a teenager or an adult.

Ryan slaps, kicks, bites and swears at other children. Why does he do this? He wants their toys, and when he hits them, they drop the toys and he picks them up.

How do you stop behavior problems that get children what they want? For that, check out this post.


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