i‑Learner Education Centre

Steps to Success » Parenting

What Negative Behaviour Really Means

Unlike adults, children often express their needs through behaviour rather than through their words. Therefore, the emergence of negative behaviours can be a signal of unsatisfied wants.

As a tutor of small groups, I often get to witness a variety of different behaviours from children, and I always endeavour to find the root causes of any negativity. Look out for these key issues in your child and their common causes.


  • they make fun of other kids or often compare themselves with others, it suggests they don’t feel confident that you value them highly. Strengthen this confidence by praising them even if they don’t always excel as others do. They’ll learn to value themselves and stop making comparisons with others.
  • they rebel and refuse to follow requests, they’re often feeling unfairly held back from demonstrating their abilities. Try providing opportunities for your child to test their limits, such as on a sporting team, or in freer spaces such as soft play areas.
  • they want to be the boss and make orders, the hidden message is that they’re afraid their needs can’t be satisfied. Taking note of their commands can give you great insight into their insecurities, so you can provide a little extra support in those areas.

Just like adults, children wish to be loved and cherished. When they feel insecure about this, they may express their needs through negative behaviours. Be patient with them, listen to them and respond to them. One day they will blossom.