It is true that children do display different behaviours in certain settings; this includes going from being happy and hyper, to frustrated and moody in no time. But what causes them to have such drastic behaviour change? Here are six factors that contribute to their behaviour.
1. New Environments
In a new environment, depending on the attachment to the parent and the personality of the child, there is the usual amount of anxiety that we see. Children are tentative, apprehensive, and tend to look out for cues to manage the new situation. Once they’ve done so, they would move out of the perceived “safe zone” and explore the uncharted territories.
2. The People in the New Environment
One of the biggest contributing factors to a child’s behaviour is the people in the new environment in which they are in. Children are able to sense what the environment is like and will act accordingly. For example, a boisterous child can sit quietly and appear somber at a funeral after sensing and learning the appropriate behaviour from looking at how quiet and serious the adults are around him and sensing the heavy air.
Children look for ways to have fun. If an environment is too stifling, the child may look for outlets to try and enjoy himself. For example, if they are seated at the dining table and another child is up and running around the table, they may start to do the same as they think it is normal. When called back to their seat, your child may attempt to rationalise in their own way, “Why so-and-so can play?” As parents, you need to realise that this is not an act of defiance, but a young child wanting to understand why one child is allowed certain behaviour and they are not. Explaining to the child adequately is important.
4. Parents’ Instructions
As parents, you tend to give permission to your child to listen to the people in the environment such as telling the child to listen to their teachers in school. When you give such permission, children will learn that these people have some authority too. However, the child has no idea about the stranger and may be more tentative as they are not familiar with how the stranger works. That is the reason why some parents reply, “Well, wait till they warm up and are more familiar with you” when strangers comment on how good and well-behaved their child is.
5. External Control
Many parents tend to use the poor uniformed policeman or the unsuspecting waitress as a source of external cane. As a parent, you will lose power in that environment once you do that. This is because your child would put up a behaviour that was told to them out of fear and once the person is out of sight, the right behaviour would be out of their minds too. In fact, if you do it a few more times, your child may go into that environment, fearing the presence of that person. It might look effective on the surface as they are “well-behaved” but bear in mind that the effects on them last longer than you think.
6. Size of the Environment
Some parents feel that this has some effect on the child. There are some parents who feel that the smaller the environment, the more controlled the behaviour of the child is. Well, it may just be that the child has fewer objects to mess up with, and the parents feel that they have more control over the environment.