What Causes a Young Boy to Have Bad Behavior?

By Lee Grayson
Children behave badly when adults don't establish household rules.
Children behave badly when adults don't establish household rules.

All young boys behave badly at some time during the week. Your son's unacceptable behavior is frequently a coping mechanism used when the child becomes unhappy, sleepy, bored or stressed, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Other issues, however, can also lead to a young boy's disruptive actions. Bad behavior occasionally can signal a medical condition, and parents should consult a pediatrician when the boy's behavior interferes with healthy development or regularly disrupts family life.

Communication Problems

Communication failure can contribute to your son's bad behavior. Young boys act out when the child lacks the verbal skills to express ideas, according to the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families. Bad or destructive behavior typically receives immediate attention, and this allows children to attract notice from parents, teachers and other children when verbal skills fail to work. Adults create and state rules, but that doesn't mean boys understand the rule or the expected behavior. Wording rules in simple language and physically modeling appropriate behavior help eliminate confusion and help your son act according to your expectations.

Lack of Information

Some behaviors in young boys, such as nose picking, hair pulling or biting, develop when children lack information about the impact of the actions. Boys need information to understand social customs that ask kids to avoid nose picking or how pulling hair or biting hurts the person on the receiving end of the behavior. Formal rules help boys learn not to bother or hurt others. Extremely young children may not always understand the reason why adults label behavior as unacceptable, but boys learn best when parents and teachers show disappointment when the child participates in bad behavior.

Peer Influence

Other siblings and peers at school or daycare sometimes model bad behavior for young boys to display at home. Boys can learn to bite, use profanity or refuse to follow directions from observing other children, and this undermines parent policies at home. Observing the daily classroom activities before selecting a school or daycare helps parents choose the best situation to avoid your son learning bad behavior from others. Talking about proper behavior and giving attention to teacher notes home about improper actions also helps boys learn acceptable actions.

Supervision Issues

Behavior problems in young boys also relate to conflicting messages by supervising adults. Daycare teachers, for example, allow boys to eat in the study area, while parents restrict dining to the kitchen table. The boy learns the required behavior, but the inability to understand the importance of the location means both adults view acceptable behavior as bad. Parents can help children by talking to boys about adjusting behavior based on the physical location or model acceptable actions for younger boys without sophisticated verbal skills. Over-reacting to bad behavior sometimes has counterproductive results, according to the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, when boys behave poorly only to elicit a reaction from parents or teachers. Responding with a quiet, but firm, voice to talk about bad behavior avoids this attention-getting action.

About the Author

Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.