Home > Managing Behaviour > Managing Behaviour When Other Children Misbehave

Managing Behaviour When Other Children Misbehave

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 8 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Children Behaviour Misbehaviour Kids

It can be hard enough to cope with one child misbehaving, but when children are in a group bad behaviour can spread like wildfire. Managing the behaviour of kids who witness misbehaviour is important for not only limiting frustrations in the short term, but for helping children feel empowered and prepared to stay away from other people’s misbehaviour in the long term. Physically separating children, addressing the misbehaviour when it occurs, distracting the other children and talking about the incident can all help kids stay strong when faced with the temptation to join in other’s bad behaviour.

Physically Separating the Children

When one child in a group begins misbehaving it pays to physically separate the children as soon as possible. This may mean removing the misbehaving child, for example to have a little chat about the rules or to a naughty step or time out chair in order to calm down, but if a child is out of control then it may be easier to remove the other children, such as by suggesting that everyone go outside to play or moving to another room for story time. Not only does physically separating children remove the misbehaving child’s audience, but it allows the other children’s attention to be diverted from the incident.

Addressing the Misbehaviour

Once the misbehaving child is alone, or as alone as possible given the circumstances, the adult dealing with the incident must make it clear that the behaviour is unacceptable. Kneeling so that they can look into the child’s eyes, saying the child’s name and using a strong, calm voice are all important adult actions when trying to end an incident. So too is stating clearly what behaviour is wrong and why it is wrong, then what will happen to the child as a result. Make this information specific, for example “Kevin, you know that throwing blocks is against the rules and can hurt people and damage the blocks, so we are going to clean up and then you are going to sit in time out for six minutes”. Making the discipline method observable, like cleaning up toys and sitting in time out, should help everyone connect that misbehaving carries consequences.

Distracting the Children

While the misbehaving child is being spoken to and discipline, distracting other children is a good way to keep them from testing or mimicking the misbehaviour. Physically separating the children should help the misbehaviour be out of sight and out of mind, but unless there is something else for the kids to do then they might just try to repeat the misbehaviour in a new setting. Organising a group activity is a good way to keep a watchful eye on all of the kids at once, not to mention it gives everyone a chance to review the rules for the new activity. Sports games, board games and reading aloud are all quick and easy activities to organise as needed.

Talking About It Later

Distracting children while misbehaviour is occurring is important for keeping everyone calm at the time, but talking about the misbehaviour later is just as important. Ask children if they know why the behaviour was wrong, and why it was important that they not participate. Then discuss together what they could do in the future if faced with a similar situation, and how they could reduce their own frustrations so that they don’t become the child in the group who misbehaves.

Managing behaviour when other children misbehaves means acting quickly and decisively. Separating the misbehaving child from the other kids, addressing the misbehaviour, distracting the children and talking about it later are all important steps for managing the behaviour of children faced with the misbehaviour of one of their peers.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Weemow42
    Re: Questionnaire: Does Your Child Have ADHD?
    Hi I am also having some problems with my 12 year old son,he gets proper bullied everyday..to the point that they…
    17 October 2018
  • Ali
    Re: Children and Self-Harm
    My son is 8 and he as started biting himself for the last couple of weeks he as come to me and said kids at school are calling him thick…
    16 October 2018
  • godly owner of gods
    Re: Smacking and Children
    god does not condone this ban it
    11 October 2018
  • Sunshine
    Re: Children and Swearing
    My nearly 8 year old boy is exactly the same no matter what we do to try stop his swearing.
    10 October 2018
  • clarina
    Re: Questionnaire: Does Your Child Have ADHD?
    My daughter 9 in November has started to make cat miauwing. It is quite an annoying sound. I also feel it…
    2 October 2018
  • Nate
    Re: Grounding Children
    So well today me and my sister teased a kid and we both got a detention but when got home are mom gave us both a spanking and we both got…
    30 September 2018
  • Caroline
    Re: Interview: Working with Behavioural Issues in Children
    Myself and my husband are really struggling with our 3 children. There behaviours are…
    30 September 2018
  • Woody
    Re: Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
    My son now 15 has shown (what I think may be signs of ODD ) most noticeably since year 6. He is defiant , will challenge…
    16 September 2018
  • bbw
    Re: Children and Body Rocking
    I have rocked as long as I can remember. I would bang my head against the back of the couch so often that the metal rod in the piping…
    6 September 2018
  • pumpkin
    Re: Smacking and Children
    I am now 53 years old and am suffering from mental health issues.My father physically beat me with leather belt when mother was away,my…
    4 September 2018