You come home from a long day of work, and the first thing you see is your child has destroyed your favorite coffee mug.
Or maybe they’ve torn apart their favorite toy. As parents, it’s easy to feel frustrated and angry when our children behave in this way.
One of the most common questions I hear is “why does my child destroy everything?
Perhaps they sometimes remind you of Sid from Toy Story. The kid who had an appetite for destruction.
Each child has their own way of dealing with stress, and some are simply more curious than others.
Some resort to destroying property, while others may become angry and vocal about it to express how they feel.
The act is simply a release for those who can’t deal any other way—an outlet that makes them feel better temporarily at least!
In today’s blog post, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons why children destroy things, and we’ll give you some tips on how to deal with it.
Let’s explore the reasons why your child destroys things, and learn how you can help them stop this behavior.
The 4 Common Reasons Behind Children’s Destructive Behavior
1. Kids are curious and want to explore their environment.
Kids are naturally curious, and this leads them to want to explore their environment.
When they get into your things, it’s not because they’re bad or naughty; it’s because they’re interested in the object and want to know more about it.
This leads them to take objects apart, tear pages out of books (to look at the pictures), and more.
This destructive behavior is healthy in their early years when it’s simply part of their learning process.
But as they grow up, it can become more damaging. If properly channeled, we can help them put their curiosity to work in more productive ways, rather than causing damage.
2. They may be trying to communicate something that they can’t put into words.
When our kids do something we might not understand, like break a toy or scream for seemingly no reason, it can be easy to get frustrated.
But what if there’s something they’re trying to communicate?
According to experts, kids sometimes break things or act out in other disruptive ways as a way of communicating something that they can’t put into words.
So, the next time your child breaks a toy or acts out, don’t close yourself off from trying to understand what they might be trying to say.
Instead, work with them to figure out what’s going on and see if you can help them find a better way to communicate.
You might be surprised at how much progress your child makes once they start being able to express themselves more effectively.
3. Kids may be acting out because of stress or anxiety.
Kids tend to break things when they’re under a lot of stress or anxiety.
It might seem like they’re just being naughty, but there’s a good chance that they’re trying to communicate something through their destructive behavior.
As parents, it’s important to understand what your kids are dealing with so that you can help them deal with it in the most effective way possible.
By recognizing the signs of stress and anxiety in kids, you can work on resolving the problem before it gets any worse.
4. Some kids simply enjoy destroying things.
Contrary to popular belief, most kids who break things do so because they enjoy it, not because they are trying to be destructive.
In fact, this behavioral trait can actually be traced back to their development stages.
Keep in mind that it is probably just a stage they are going through. It’s critical to remain calm and not overreact when they start breaking things.
5. Older kids destroy and break things because they desire to feel independent and powerful.
This is a primitive version of the urge to feel powerful. Kids express this urge in many ways, and their destructive behavior is one of the most common expressions.
Not only does destroying things give them a sense of control At that moment, it also gives them a feeling that they are gaining power over something that’s been out of their control for some time.
How to help kids deal with their destructive behavior
Now that you know why your kids may be acting out by destroying things, how can you help them deal with it?
Here are some steps you can take to help them work through their issues.
How do I stop my child from destroying things?
You are probably reading this article because you want to learn how to stop your child from destroying everything in sight.
Here are a few tips that might help:
1. Determine the likely cause for their behavior.
Always remind yourself that your child is doing this because they’re trying to communicate something or work through some kind of problem.
As we said before, kids don’t destroy things purposely; instead, they do it because there’s something behind it (or on top of it).
By trying to understand why they might be doing it, you can help them find better ways of communicating their feelings.
2. Spend one-on-one time with your child.
Spending more time with your kids is a great way for you to get to know what’s going on in their world.
In fact, experts recommend that parents spend at least 20 minutes a day with each child.
By spending time with them one-on-one, you’ll be able to talk about the things they’re interested in and work through their issues together.
You can also use this time to tell them how much you love and care for them!
3. Help your child control their impulses.
Remember that kids have limited impulse control. When they get overwhelmed with emotions, it can be difficult for them to control themselves.
So, the best thing you can do is help your child learn how to deal with their impulses by playing games that teach impulse control.
4. Help your children express themselves in a healthy way.
We’ve talked before about how important it is to help kids express their feelings in a healthy way.
When they can do this, it removes the urge for them to act out or destroy things as a way of communicating those feelings.
As parents, one of our jobs is to give them the tools they need to communicate their emotions and feel safe expressing those emotions.
All of these behaviors stem from a desire to feel in control, to be able to assert themselves.
Therefore, when these behaviors become problematic, parents can provide a sense of power to their children by giving them more direct control over certain aspects of their lives.
When these behaviors become problematic, parents can give their children more direct control over certain aspects of life.
This provides them with an opportunity for empowerment and self-efficacy as well!
By understanding the motivations behind their destructive behavior, you can help your child find better ways of dealing with their emotions.
For example, if they’re destroying things because they feel overwhelmed by frustrations, then spending one-on-one time with them will give them a chance to open up about it.
If they’re feeling insecure or unhappy because they’re being teased at school, then spending time with them could help them open up about that, too.
Of course, this is just a small sample of the many ways parents can approach their child’s destructive behavior.
It’s easy to get frustrated when our children destroy things, but the truth is that there are many reasons why they might be doing it.
By taking their motivations into account and helping them find healthier ways of dealing with those emotions, you’ll be able to have a much more positive relationship with your child!
Ps. As a former Yelling Mom, I know how the cycle goes. First, you ask your kids nicely. Then you remind. And you repeat …and remind.
After all that nagging, you finally EXPLODE.
If you’re stuck in this never-ending cycle, you’re not alone. I know how easy it is to resort to YELLING when nothing else works to get your kids to listen.
I felt so GUILTY and helpless. So when I learned there were BETTER, guilt-free ways to get my kids to listen, my life CHANGED.
After spending many months in frustration, I discovered a NEW parenting strategy that WORKS with no yelling!
It was created by Amy McCready, and she has a FREE webinar where she teaches about this NO-yelling formula for consequences, and so much more!