Dealing With Your Child's Behavioral Issues

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As much as you love your child, their bad behavior can be incredibly frustrating. It may start with the terrible two’s or any time after, but nipping it in the bud as soon as possible is a must. Discipline is a bit of a controversial topic, but one that every parent has to face. As a parent, your discipline style is up to you (as long as it’s legal) and what works for one of your children may not even work for the other. But, if you’re not quite sure how to go about handling your child’s behavior, below are a few suggestions that you may find helpful. Try them out and see what happens!
Identify Triggers
Some examples of possible bad behavior triggers are hunger, tiredness, distraction, too much sugar, or not enough sleep. When you have identified the trigger, try to minimize the occurrence by being proactive. Have snacks on hand, make sure they get plenty of rest, or limit your child’s sugar intake. This should eliminate a surprising number of meltdowns.

Be Clear About Expectations
It’s easy to give vague directions without even realizing it, but children have a hard time understanding them. When you tell them to “be good”, they don’t know what actions constitute good or bad behavior. Instead, tell them beforehand what you expect from them as clearly as possible and make sure they understand by having them repeat it. 

Focus On Positive More Than Negative Behavior
Rewarding good behavior will work much better than punishing bad behavior. Acknowledge their good behavior with positive attention and even rewards, on appropriate occasions. This does not mean bad behavior should be looked over. For minor offenses, practice active ignoring, in which ignore them until they behave. For this to work, you have to pay attention to them again as soon as their behavior changes. For violent or disruptive behavior, time-outs are effective when carried out properly. Put them in an uninteresting area that you can see from where you are and set a timer for 1 minute per year of age. If they get up, restart the timer.

Other things to remember when disciplining your child is to speak to them in a calm voice, be consistent, and call in help if you need it. Discipline is more about teaching than it is about punishing. The more you encourage good behavior, the less you will have to punish bad behavior.

By: Alecia Stanton

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