Crying and sadness can be a form of misbehavior

Portrait of girl crying with tears rolling down her cheeks

Portrait of girl crying with tears rolling down her cheeks

“He doesn’t misbehave at home.” That is a common comment from parents that don’t see their child’s emotional response as a form of misbehavior.

We tend to think of misbehavior as overt defiance, disrespect, aggression, or just plain bad attitude. But kids can misbehave in a variety of
ways; not all of them have to be in your face.

You’ve heard the expression, “misery loves company”, well that is actually not correct.

It should be “misery loves miserable company.”

If you are miserable you want others to be miserable around you. Hence, kids will be miserable or unhappy with something you did, like grounding, they act sullen, sad, and try to instill enough guilt in you to fill a house. If it works, you are miserable too and their mission has been accomplished.

So one way kids misbehave is to act sad, cry, and be just miserable around you, in the hopes that it rubs off and you share their misery. They are hoping that you will have second thoughts about grounding them in the future or taking away their cell phone.

So what can you do about it?

Tell them to be miserable somewhere else.

They can only be around you and in the common areas when they are pleasant and fun. Otherwise, they can bask in their misery by themselves in their room. Also, you will see that they are using their tears as manipulation.