Why do people act in unsavory ways? They’re Tired, Hungry, Uncomfortable, or Desirous (in combinations of one or more).

It may be unpleasant to recognize that these are actually triggers for infants’ and toddlers’ unsavory behaviors, too, but they are the fundamental reasons why children act out.

If you do a web search on ’causes of misbehavior’ you’ll find many sources saying comparable things. Two in particular are useful for making my point (The Valjean Effect: Visceral States and Cheating and Why Do Children Misbehave? Finding the Root Causes of Classroom Misbehavior); I just have my own way of talking about it.



An Apt Acronym

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I’m sleepy and I really need to go to bed.


My stomach is growling and it’s time for me to eat. I’m thirsty and I want something to drink.


My diaper is dirty and I need it to be changed. I’m sick and I feel yucky.


I want to stick my finger into one of those little dark 2 slots in the wall at just my height and you won’t let me.


Those Who Do It

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Infants and Toddlers

Consider the evidence.

School-aged Children

Increase the age of the infant or toddler into the school ages. Analyze the unsavory behaviors and their triggers again. Consider the evidence.


Increase the age into adolescence and repeat. Consider the evidence.


Increase the age into adulthood and repeat. Consider the evidence.


What’s to Be Done About It

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Feed the beast.


It works for me: Distraction Is a Real Strategy


Act like an adult.


Models of Interpretation








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Updated: 2023’03’03’F (addition of menu and page navigation links)
Created: 2023’02’09’R