There are many factors that can trigger a child’s tantrum or cause difficult behavior. Some of these factors may be biological, such as being tired or hungry. Challenging behaviors can also occur due to emotional reasons, especially when young children are having difficulty expressing their thoughts and feelings. A child’s environment can also play a role in his or her behavior issues. While these may all be factors in your child’s behavior difficulties, addressing and managing bad behavior is something all parents face at one time or another.
All kids make mistakes, it’s a normal part of growing up. What’s not acceptable, however, is when a child lashes out intentionally or purposely exhibits disruptive behaviors. So what can parents do to address and correct these kinds of behaviors?
If you have the same question and are facing this kind of dilemma in your home, we have come up with a list of tips to help you address challenging behaviors and encourage more positive ones.
One of the most common mistakes many parents make is immediately reacting to their child’s bad behavior. It’s understandable that we don’t want to ignore a child who is screaming at the top of his or her lungs, throwing objects, and having a major meltdown. However, it’s important to remember that kids are natural attention-seekers. To them, negative attention may seem better than none at all.
It’s going to take a lot of willpower to keep yourself from reacting to your child when he or she is acting out, but it’s an art all parents need to master. When you ignore them during a tantrum, children may shout even louder or do even worse things as a means of getting your attention, but they will eventually stop. When a child realizes that this type of behavior is not being acknowledged, he or she will stop.
Focus on the positive
Another helpful tip to help you manage challenging behavior with your kids is focusing on the positive. Unfortunately, there are some adults who presume that kids are always a headache. Don’t start your day with the negative mindset that you are about to deal with yet another tiresome morning filled with tantrums.
Instead, try removing that label in your head and shift to something more positive. Make sure your kids feel that too. Rather than always calling them out for leaving toys around and being messy in your home , it is more productive to mention when you notice something good. For instance, you may say something like, “You’re really good at finding the right pieces for building a house. It will help make things easier if your toys and everything you need are organized in one place.”
Validate before imposing discipline
Kids exhibit difficult behavior for a reason. They don’t act out for nothing. So before imposing discipline, first you need to validate the reason behind the misbehavior. Take time to ask your child what went wrong. For example, find out what led to your child hitting his or her sibling, throwing his or her toys, or having a meltdown. As soon as you find out the reason behind the actions, be sure to give your child a corresponding and fair consequence. Let children know that they are understood, but the way they reacted to the trigger is not acceptable.
Empathize and connect
A change in a child’s behavior will not be possible without a strong, positive parent-child relationship and foundation. When it comes to instilling better behavior in your kids, bear in mind the importance of nurturing your relationship. Make sure your little one feels adequately loved and cared for. Spend time connecting and bonding with your child. This will make it easier for young children to understand that discipline isn’t just about punishing them for their mistakes, but that it’s for their own good and welfare.
Relate instead of lecturing
Giving our kids lectures is what most of us are inclined to do when they misbehave. Don’t fall into the same trap, as your words are likely to fall on deaf ears. Instead, try to focus on relating with your child by sharing your own similar experiences. Most children don’t like having attention focused on them when they’ve made a mistake. So shift the focus to your own personal perspectives and experiences.
For example, if you’re teaching your child about the concept of forgiveness, you can share a personal experience of when you had to forgive your younger brother who accidentally destroyed your favorite doll.
Addressing and correcting challenging behaviors with kids doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, a lot of patience, and effort. But don’t lose hope. There are ways you can foster and encourage better behavior in your child.
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