My Son, Bad Behavior, and Expectations

For the past month now, my 8 year old son’s bad behavior was driving me bonkers! I had already banned sugar from his diet and saw some improvement. And with his allergies, there was nothing else to remove from his diet.

And then, one day, in public, when I commented on how bad his behavior was, he replied

Hey, I’m a kid!! What do you expect!?!?

Oh no you didn’t! Those words did NOT just escape MY son’s lips. Doesn’t he realize I had a blog, and a reputation?!?!!! A humbling experience for sure, but then it hit me.

THIS was why his behavior was so bad lately. Somewhere in the past he had gotten the idea that it is ok to behave poorly because, Hey! After all… you’re only a kid!

In our family, we have talked about how the world sets certain standards of what is expected of people, and those standards are usually much lower and very different from what God calls us to in His word.

So here were some things I gave him to think about:

1) We went to the Word. The Bible has a LOT to say about your words and actions. But in particular, we talked about

 “In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.”

– Proverbs 13: 16

They may look handsome in a suit and tie, or beautiful in a dress with ribbons in their hair, but as soon as they start acting up, acting out, or saying silly/goofy things, what happens? What do you think about that child when you see them acting that way?

2)  We represent others with our actions. We talked about how he represents our family (mommy, daddy, your sisters), and how he represents God as a Christian. When you are acting foolish or behaving badly, what are people are going to think of those you represent?

3) I asked him questions to help him think crtically. I LOVE asking my kids questions!! It really makes them think about things differently when they have to analyze. Who said that kids get to act that way? Where did he hear that from? Is that a reliable source? What is a reliable source? What does the Bible have to say about how “a kid” should act? What does that look like and how can he change his behavior?

That was all it took. He needed to know what behavior was expected of him and how to change his behavior to meet those standards. He’s not perfect. But he is learning, growing, and submitting to God’s will for His life as he continues to walk in Him.

When expectations are set and explained, they are hit every time. So aim high!! And teach them to aim high for themselves.

What about you? Have you ever thought that maybe you child is acting a certain way because they expect it of themselves? How can we help our children to expect better of themselves?

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