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3 Underlying Reasons for Challenging Behavior in Kids and how to end Them

Written by: Safia Haque, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


“Why don't they just listen to me?” Often parents will ask me this question and it comes up as a top challenge in my conversations. They tell me that if only their kids would listen, then they would feel so much better, and all the problems and disputes will just disappear like magic.

I wished I had a magic formula that could make that happen, but I actually have something even better to share with you. Our feelings of wellbeing actually never ever have depended on the fact of our children listen or not, it is how we think about their lack of listening to that determines our feelings.

Just imagine you are free of the burden that only if your kids listen then you can relax, or then you can be happy. This is such a big weight to carry, due to the number one innocent misunderstanding that our children have the power to cause our feelings. But I can guarantee you that they don’t. And as soon as we insightfully drop this illusion, we are free of this burden, and we can start parenting from a completely different place.

Now to the no one underlying reason, I found to be true why children don’t listen. If they did listen all the time, they would have to be robots, so where would be the fun in being a parent?

But joking aside, the biggest underlying reason I found why children don’t listen is the fact that they don’t see it being modeled to them. They don’t feel heard and listened to themselves. They are often surrounded by adults that are too distracted themselves to give them two fully present and conscious listening ears. Deep listening is actually quite intense and can only be done when fully present and with full intention. So the first practical step I recommend to parents that want their children to listen more is that they notice how well they are showing their children what listening really looks like and then intentionally put the steps of deep listening into practice.

The second underlying reason for challenging behavior is “insecure thinking.” When a child feels insecure, they start acting up and display all sorts of challenging behavior. A classic example is when a child does not know if they are allowed another sweet or not. This is very relevant to toddlers but can be applied across the board. When the child is not sure about the boundaries, they will feel unsure and insecure about what they are meant to do or say. So they will ask and beg and throw tantrums as they are reacting to their own insecurities at that moment. On the outside, it looks like challenging behavior from the child, but on the inside, it is their battle with their insecure feelings and a lack of life experience that gets them into all that trouble.

This leads us nicely to the third underlying reason I would like to share. Do children really behave in challenging ways deliberately? I don't believe they do. It is their lack of experience in life and their lack of self-control that gets them all tripped up. I believe that the main difference between an adult and a child is the fact that we have had a lot more life experience and skills, that kids are still developing, which means they need a lot more of our compassion and forgiveness when they trip up.

Just to quickly recap on how to end these challenges.

  1. Children will listen more when they feel heard too and see what deep listening looks like from the adults around them.

  2. Insecure thinking and feeling are a major underlying reason for children behaving in a challenging way and the more clearer we can make it for them the less they will fall into that thinking/feeling.

  3. They don’t behave challenging deliberately and need a lot of compassion, guidance, and understanding while they grow and find their way through life.

For more info, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and visit my website!


Safia Haque, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Safia Haque is an Effortless Parenting Coach, a Speaker and a Home-Educator. After going through a life-changing Psychological Paradigm Shift that made her parenting effortless, non-reactive and peaceful. She is on a mission to take one parent per family through the powerful Inside-Out transformation. She is the creator of the Effortless Parenting Course and is working with Parents all around the world to raising happy, healthy, and confident children without any guilt, stress, or worry.



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