Most families have one…that child that just seems to be into everything. They aren’t BAD, their just…mischievous. They also usually have a lot of energy. Unfortunately in today’s society these children are being labeled as ADD or ADHD. I would venture to guess that 90% of those children “diagnosed” this are simply high energy children with parents who just don’t know how, or don’t want to deal with the extra energy.
So where does energy and mischief come together? Excess energy + lack of stimulation = boredom. And we know that boredom= getting into stuff.
It’s also not that much a surprise that the majority of “ADD/ADHD” diagnosed children are boys.
Here’s another formula for you: Boy + idle time = mischief
I am not a supporter of scheduling every ounce of a child’s day to eliminate boredom, but I DO recommend having a variety of activity options at the child’s disposal. Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (emphasis mine)
Many high energy children are also very creative and tend to have great engineering skills, I really think they use their brains differently. Have art supplies and miscellaneous constructive materials handy and give the child plenty of time to create.
Send them outside! Pent up energy will wreck havoc on your household peace. Give your child plenty of opportunities to run and play. Encourage being active, limit time on electronics.
Here are some more tips on how to parent in various areas of the high energy/ mischievous child’s life:
- Affection: mischievous children are typically strongly attached to one parent. Boys typically mothers and girls typically fathers. The less attached parent is usually also the primary disciplinarian for that child. The less attached parent should be careful to praise more than discipline. FIND areas that you can give kudos to the kiddo. “Catch” them being good and reward them. Purposefully spend plenty of snuggle time or seek the child out for hugs and kisses. Let them see that there is more to your relationship than saying no and spankings.
- Discipline: DO IT! Make and ENFORCE clear boundaries and rules. When the child crosses the line, immediately discipline the child appropriately. But even more importantly, make sure you balance the discipline. A mischievous child may feel that all they ever do is get in trouble. Make sure, like stated above, that you are praising twice as much as you are punishing. Model Christ’s forgiveness by not holding the child’s mistakes over their head or bringing them up later.
- Groups: The high energy/ mischievous child may get out of hand in group settings. So much going on and a distracted parent will give the child opportunities to get in trouble, act out, or just generally be overly hyper. Keep that child close to you. Monitor the behavior and make subtle corrections, being careful to not draw attention to the child and embarrass him/her. This could make the situation worse and give the child a reason to garner negative attention.
- Alone: Many mischievous children don’t like a lot of alone time. They crave attention, and quite frankly an audience of one is boring. Try to spend much time with or make sure siblings are available to play with the child. Even if you are simply in the same room doing different things, can be a blessing and satisfy their need for company.
My biggest advice would be this: DO NOT label your child or let them hear you talking about him or her in a negative light. Self esteem will suffer and possibly make behavior problems worse.
Take advantage of every opportunity you can to love on you child. Make them feel that they are more than their mistakes or bad decisions.
Encourage their creativity and have plenty of activities available.