My son is having a horrible day today. Usually he’s fairly well behaved for a 5-year old and he can certainly play well by himself, but today he was a nightmare. There was a lot of whining, hanging, sitting on my lap, being bored and whatnot.

Yet I couldn’t blame him. You see, we’re having two guys staying with us this week and my son is all excited about these 18-year olds playing with him. They took him out to McDonalds a couple of days ago while my husband and I enjoyed a romantic dinner, but because of circumstances they missed a train and a bus and didn’t make it home till after 11 p.m.

The day after that we went on a trip and the day after that we spent all day in a family park. The bottom line is that he’s been off his schedule for the last four days, has had too much excitement, too little sleep and nothing resembling his usual routine. That’s simply too much to ask from a 5-year old.

This is my 5-year old, generally a sweet boy but today he was a complete nightmare. There was a reason for his difficult behavior though. 

But if you had met him today and hadn’t known him before, you’d have thought he was a truly horrible, spoiled child. If you hadn’t taken the time to find out the reasons for his difficult behavior, you’d have come to the complete wrong conclusion. You might even have started to resent this wonderful, sweet little boy based on his off day.

It made me wonder. When one of our students is acting up or acting out, do we take the time to find out what’s causing the difficult behavior? Even when it’s for a longer period?

I don’t think any teen wants to be a pain for the sake of it. There’s always an underlying reason, a trigger or cause for this kind of behavior. The question is: do we take the time to find out what it is?

If we don’t, we might end up coming to the complete wrong conclusions about our students. And if we’re not careful, we will start to resent those being difficult.

It’s a lot easier to be patient, understanding and loving when we understand the reasons behind irritating, difficult, or even destructive behavior. But do we take the time to look beneath the surface, to discover what the real issue is?

I sure hope so.