DiscoverIt's Gonna Be Ok!58: Is My Kid Doing This on Purpose?
58: Is My Kid Doing This on Purpose?

58: Is My Kid Doing This on Purpose?

Update: 2023-05-02


Many parents who get overwhelmed by their kids' behavior tend to question their parenting skills and wonder if their kids are doing this on purpose. More often than not, we assume that our kids are doing everything on purpose, but there's so much more behind it. We must consider even the minor factors that might contribute to our kids' behaviors.

As we continue to dive deep into the journey of changing how people view and treat children's mental health, we'll shed light on your kid's behavior and answer one of the frequent concerns of many parents regarding their kid's behavior and whether or not their kid is doing this on purpose.

The number one determinant of success is not what the kid's problem is; it's the family system.

Some psychologists and therapists will not tell you that the number one determinant of success is not what the kids' problem is, but instead, it's the family system. So parents, being the CEOs of the family, should believe in the process and that their children can get better.

Moreover, parents are responsible for creating a positive and nurturing environment for the positive growth of their kids. So, believing in the process and their kid's potential to improve is essential to effective parenting. Having such a positive mindset can significantly impact their child's self-esteem, motivation, and overall well-being.

It is essential to note that your kid is not doing this on purpose, especially when diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, anxiety, depression, or other underlying clinical issues. So instead of looking at the situation negatively, let's try and trace what's triggering you to be so irritated.

Punishing is a waste of time.

Giving your kids punishment as a form of discipline is okay. But I want to convey to parents that always punishing their kids is quite a waste of time.

Excessive and repetitive punishment can cause your kids decreased self-esteem, anxiety, and other behavioral problems. Also, parents should not solely rely on giving punishment when they want their kids to learn their lesson. Instead, parents should communicate clearly and set out their expectations to establish a healthy relationship with their kids.

Do kids understand the expectations that their parents have?

We all know that parents only want what's best for their kids, so they set standards and expectations they want their kids to meet. However, sometimes, such expectations are set high that when kids don't meet them, their parents think there's something wrong. 

You must consider your kid's situation. Have you ever wondered whether or not your kid understands the expectations you have for them? Most kids with learning disabilities, focus problems, anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues have trouble seeing the end result, so it's hard to follow through and meet their parents' expectations. 

These issues all relate to executive functioning. I've talked a lot about this topic in my previous episodes considering that it's one of the highlights that would help you further understand your kid's behavior. You can visit my blog ( to learn more about it.

As parents, we have the responsibility to help them understand what that end result is if we want them to get better. We can't just make assumptions as regards their case. 

Three steps to better behavior.

First things first, it's important to regulate yourself. You won't get a good response from your kid if you present yourself to them all irritated and frustrated. As much as possible, stay composed and calm and convey what your child needs to do simplistically. 

Research studies show that kids are more receptive to fathers in parenting. However, when it comes to kids struggling with mental health, behavior, or learning issues, it appears that they need to hear less as they need clarity. 

The second step is to find the behavior you want to change. Then, be clear and break it down for your kid. Then, reinforce that for 30 days because it takes a minimum of 10 days to get over a learning curve. We refer to this as behaviorism. 

Considering that kids with learning, processing, and attention problems have a hard time focusing, especially if they're anxious or depressed, it will be at least three times the minimum time to get over a learning curve which brings us to 30 days of reinforcement. 

The big part about behavior people don't get is that we have to reinforce the end result and the successive approximations. So we want to strengthen the micro-steps to get to the big thing because the brain learns that way.

We also must understand that kids don't know what to do most of the time, so they get angry, shut down, or shift into a fight, flight or freeze mode. So they're going to be sensitive to criticism, and they're going to do all those things that make you think that they must be doing it on purpose. 

The reality is that these kids are even confused by their behavior. And so, as responsible parents, let's give our kids the necessary tools. I have resources on my blog about behavior, parenting, executive functioning, and the brain, which you can check out if you are interested.

No matter where you are in your journey, we have resources to help you:

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58: Is My Kid Doing This on Purpose?

58: Is My Kid Doing This on Purpose?

Dr. Roseann Capanna Hodge