Every parent deals with behavioral issues in their children at some point. But, you can turn that around! Use these tips to get your children behaving better.
Has your child been having some behavioral problems recently?
No doubt your patience is wearing thin. When they’re acting out and talking back, it can feel like you’re at your wit’s end. It can feel as if there’s nothing you can do to change their attitude.
Maybe it’s time to change your disciplinary tactics.
Don’t just keep reprimanding them until you’re blue in the face. Instead, learn some thoughtful new methods that will be more effective.
It doesn’t matter if your child has behavioral problems or is even-tempered. Finding more healthy ways to communicate with them is always a great idea.
Every parent deals with behavioral issues in their kids at some point. But, you can turn that around! Use these tips to get your children behaving better.
Replace Control with Guidance
Some children with behavioral issues act out because they sense that they are being controlled. You might often find yourself saying, “it’s like I tell them to do one thing, and they do the exact opposite.” You’re not imagining it.
Instead of giving commands that invite opposition, try framing requests as guidance.
For example, “go brush your teeth” is a demand. Something they can easily scream “no” to.
Try, “what do you need to do this morning so your breathe’s not stinky?” This is making it a conversation. It shows them why they should do something, while still giving them the feeling of having a say in it.
This is a great tactic to use on a daily basis, but it won’t always eliminate fights altogether. When that does happen, take a breathe.
Take a Breathe and Don’t Jump to Conclusions
Are your kids in the midst of a screaming match? Before jumping to an emotional reaction, center yourself and take a breath.
Of course, it’s easier said than done. But, when trying to discipline a child it’s important not to be too emotionally reactive.
Try to step outside your own frustration and assess the situation. Don’t jump to any conclusions. Instead of instinctively blaming the sibling with behavioral problems, get to the bottom of what happened.
If they know you think of them as a bad kid, they will start meeting those expectations, both consciously and subconsciously.
One way to show your child that you don’t think of them as a “bad kid” is to recognize when they make a good choice.
Recognize When They Make the Right Choice
When a child hits their sibling, they get a ton of attention from you. It’s not positive, but that doesn’t matter. The times they choose not to hit them, they don’t get any attention.
Next time you notice your child making the right choice, let them know they did a good job.
Did you tell them they can’t have more ice cream and they didn’t throw their usual tantrum? Let them know you appreciate how mature they were about it.
Soon they will start to associate calm and respectful behavior with positive outcomes. After a particularly good week, you can reward them. One idea is to give them a token for their good behavior from www.thetokenshop.com.
This is a great way to keep things positive.
Tell Them What They Can Do Instead of Can’t
Another way is to emphasize what kids are allowed to do instead of what they aren’t.
This method is especially helpful with small children and toddlers. When they do something wrong, like biting, a finite “no” often doesn’t cut it.
For one, just saying no can come off as a game to them. They realize that every time they do a certain action, it gets the same response.
Another reason is that it doesn’t address the motivation behind the behavior. Get to the bottom of why they were acting out like that.
Were they biting because they were frustrated? Explain that it’s okay to be frustrated, but biting isn’t appropriate. However, they can let out their frustration by banging on their drum playset.
This teaches them to manage their emotions in more productive ways.
Sometimes. In the end, kids will be kids. When they do inevitably mess up, don’t load too much guilt on them.
Don’t Shame Them for Making Mistakes
Everyone, young and old, makes mistakes. But, as we’ve all heard, the important thing is that you learn from them.
One way for kids to learn from their mistakes is to talk about it. But, if you make them feel ashamed for what they’ve done, it might discourage them.
There’s a difference between consequences and shaming. Going home early from the park because they threw sand at another child is a consequence. Telling them how bad they were on the ride home is shaming them.
Need something else to talk about in the car?
Tell them about a mistake you made at work recently. Talk about the consequences and what you learned from it. Then ask them what they learned from the mistake they made.
These kinds of one-on-one conversations are always positive. Make it a priority by setting aside regular time for them.
Set Aside One-on-One Time
One of the major reasons why kids act out is because they want attention. It might help their behavior if you start scheduling one-on-one time with your child.
That time doesn’t always have to be some elaborate outing. Just 10 or 15 minutes of regular, individual attention will work wonders.
This is especially important if you have more than one child. Each child needs to feel that you see them and care about them. It will help their self-esteem and show how much you love them.
When kids have confidence and positive attention, they have much fewer reasons to act out.
Children Behaving Badly: How to Fix it
Children behaving badly is not a new concept. There’s going to be behavioral growing pains at every stage of their development. However, the way you react to it can keep it from escalating.
Want more tips for raising healthy, well-adjusted children? Then check out this article, “7 Active Ways to Build Mental Strength in Kids!“