Indiscipline in children

Indiscipline in children

"Children grow and develop with the behavioral models they see around them, without fear of making a mistake I can say that most of the time behind a screaming child there is a father or mother who does the same… "

Many parents come asking for help in reference to the behavior of their children, especially those complaints we can include in lack of discipline or attention to the rules that are imposed at home. Children grow up and begin to want to enjoy their own autonomy, often choosing different or opposite paths that parents seem to want.


  • 1 Behavioral problems in children
  • 2 Types of parents
  • 3 Case example

Behavioral problems in children

Let's see some of the most common complaints that occur in a child's behavioral problem:

  • My son doesn't listen to me when I tell him he has to do something.
  • There is no way to go to bed at a reasonable time.
  • My child's teachers are fed up with their behavior: they don't pay anything and they are always bothering in class.
  • My son tells lies.
  • He is always irritated and answers badly.

All children are different despite having many of them the problems listed above. The vital experience of each child is what makes up their own individuality. This experience is mainly collected from two environments: one the family and the other, the school. In one environment and in another, children find models that serve as an example. If these models are not adequate we will be favoring the problem in the child.

Types of parents

Demanding parents, carefree of what is important to the child, nervous, too permissive, unacceptable, hysterical, unaffected, dependent, possessive, phobic, obsessive, unfair, incoherent ... and many other qualifiers that right now I no longer know occur, they are the ones that make the difference between an undisciplined and disciplined child

In a family it is very easy to find the axis of a whole problematic family dynamics in one of its members who usually corresponds to the most sensitive and susceptible figure, that is, in the child. Influencing the family environment is an unlikely task for a psychologist, in the first place parents do not usually accept the bad dynamics that are experienced in their territory, so they no longer allow you to intervene in their erroneous routine. The problems simply converge in the figure of the child waiting for you to change what would only be solved by changing families. It is hard but I often feel it that way.

Case example

By way of illustrative example, I would like to share with you my contact with Laura and her family, hoping that this will serve as a reflection for all those who have children.

Laura's mother made an appointment with me to tell me about her daughter. She came alone and her appearance denoted impatience. Laura is a 9-year-old girl who changed schools at the end of last year for reasons of change of residence. His previous school was private and religious and current, public. He seemed to have "lost heart" according to his mother with the change of school along with having undesirable behaviors at home.

For example, he painted a piece of wall and when his mother asked him why? He could not answer. He hooked "boogers" on the wall without knowing the reason. It seemed to show aggressiveness directed towards the new house to annoy the mother whose fanaticism for order and cleanliness were most evident. The mother said she was "deranged from the nerves" because in addition to not holding the girl, the husband spent the day working and when he arrived home he was always tired without helping at all. Everyone seemed to have the "transfer" symptom in their behaviors.

When Laura appeared in my office, I did not find that "destructive" girl that her mother had pointed out at all and it seemed appropriate to quote both parents to discover what she imagined. In a few minutes, the interview with the parents became a couple therapy session in which each one threw the rags dirty to the other and I continually tried to resume the interview towards the figure that seemed most important to me, poor Laura, and I mention it that way because at that time I could imagine what life would be like for that child in that family.

A family where affection had become resentment, where grandparents seemed to divide opinions but no one had put order in it, a family where every evolutionary step that Laura made was punished by sheer parenting.

Laura had come to assume that she would be punished for anything she did with which her anxiety began to overflow. Some behaviors for which he was punished: - Pour some water out of the glass, talk too much, drain a peach from your hands while you are eating it. - The punishment consisted first of screaming and slapping to continue sending her to her room without dinner until the next day. His mother's compulsivity led him to punish her if what was written on the school agenda seemed unclean, if a strand of hair hung in a mess or if the girl's presence had just made her nervous.

Laura learned and that is the most serious thing of all to blame for those behaviors or simply for mom's nerves, since she every time she punished her then ran to tell her that because of her fault her heart ached now. Another child might have shown defiant behavior in the face of that irrationality but Laura had accepted it as normal behavior. His life was dominated by a large dose of anxiety and if there was no order in family dynamics and the functioning of these parents, Laura's evolution would not be positive. My insistence on seeing them often, on changing attitudes caused a suspicion in the mother who quickly drove Laura away from my networks. This reaction is not new for me or for most psychologists, it is something we live with every day in dealing with patients, but if the patient is a child, anger and impotence are stronger.


If we manage to sensitize many negative models, we will surely make progress in the treatment of these undisciplined children, since many are the reflection of our own acts, however well intentioned they may be.

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