There is always an underlying issue that causes children to behave poorly in the first place. Some causes for children to be edgy.

Number 1 is the development of emotional skills.

As young children grow, aside from their height and ability to speak non-stop and ask a ton of questions, there is another area that is developing which often goes unnoticed. And as such, tends to get very little attention. That will be the development of their emotional skills.

As they grow, their range of emotions and feelings also grows in complexity. And while they struggle to understand and come to grip of how they feel, they often need a lot of help from us in terms of acknowledging how they feel and giving them the vocabulary to describe their feelings.

So you might say something like:

“Are you angry because that boy accidentally pushed you and didn't say sorry?”

“Are you disappointed because it rained and you didn't get to go play outside like we planned?”

“I know you're frustrated with your younger sister because she's always playing with your toys, but you know what? This is a good time to practice being patient. How do you think I learned to be this good at being patient?”

So these are words that you can use to help them increase their vocabulary when it comes to expressing the way they feel.

Now, without this help, young children often find themselves being tangled in a web of different emotions, which can be very, very frustrating to little ones to the extent that they are not able to function normally. As such, it will help significantly to look out for cues that they are disappointed or jealous or sad or frustrated and to acknowledge their feelings so that they can come to terms with it and to move on.


The 2nd reason would be to check if their basic needs are met because we all have basic needs and children are no different.

However, youngsters may have different needs than us and often their inability to voice their concerns makes it even more frustrating for them. It may be a good idea to quickly run down a mental checklist of their basic needs such as:

  • Could they be hungry?
  • Did they drink enough water?
  • Did they get enough sleep?
  • Have they been watching too much TV?
  • Is it time for them to go outdoors to stretch and to reconnect with nature?
  • Have they had too much sugar?
  • Is their order disrupted?
  • Has there been a change in their shared use?

So if you can quickly identify what is bothering them before it spirals out of control, it will save your child a lot of discomfort and save you a lot of embarrassment too.


The 3rd reason is vitamin love. Yes, that will be L-O-V-E.

Young children need their daily dose of vitamin love. They need your attention and affection on a regular basis. Some children have learned to ask for affection in the most adorable ways but others tend to look for them in the most undesirable ways, often by displaying inappropriate behaviors because they quickly learned that they will definitely get your attention by doing so.

If they are asking for attention in the wrong way, should you entertain them? Well, some will say no but I have a slightly different technique. I'd say give him all the attention he needs even before he ask for it so that he won't have to resort to asking for it in the first place. Show them how to ask for it in appropriate ways for example, by asking for a hug or by putting his hand on your face, through a hand gesture.

So you need to have your own code so that you can signal to each other when you need some vitamin love. Children who get their daily dose of vitamin love will grow to be happy and will also learn to love themselves and others as well.

So there you have it. If your child starts to misbehave, there are few things that you could do to troubleshoot his immediate needs. Does he need you to acknowledge his feelings? Have all his basic needs been met? And did he get his daily dose of vitamin love?

If you can figure out what it is that is bothering them and respond appropriately, you will have well-behaved children.


About the author:

Queenie Tan (MEd) is Asia’s Elite Parenting Coach, was born in Klang, based in Hong Kong and is currently world schooling both her boys (Charles aged 14 and Kevin aged 11) while she speaks at international conferences, authors parenting books and manages her parenting podcast at

Being dyslexic, Queenie struggled with 11 years of formal public education and was determined to be the teacher that she never had. Queenie is a veteran international pre-school teacher and an experienced early childhood educator trainer who has worked in Hong Kong, Singapore and China.

Now, she shares her cutting-edge teaching approaches and behavior management strategies with early childhood educators/teachers all over the world. While she advocates for personalized and customized teaching approaches to cater to every childs unique individual learning needs, strengths and challenges, her passion also lies in empowering parents by teaching them how to readtheir childrens cues, to interpret them accurately and to respond appropriately while creating optimal environments for their own children to thrive.

Queenie has recently been awarded ‘Best Parent Education And Support Services’ for 2017 by APAC Insider and Global 100 respectively.