behavior issues in childrenA key part of being a parent is modeling good behavior for our children, as pointed out on, which provides high-level strategies to help shape behavior, including modeling positive behaviors. If your child sees adults sharing, using good manners and taking turns, for example, he or she is more likely to learn those behaviors. When adults use healthy techniques to calm down and express their feelings, children will have quality role models to follow. The article suggests giving “children a lot of attention when they are doing something you like and remove your attention when they are doing something you do not like.”, meanwhile, shares important ways for parents to “bolster” good behavior, including:

  • Be aware of emotional or environmental factors involved in behavior. Is your child hungry? Anxious? Tired?
  • When possible, adjust the environment to one more conducive to good behavior.
  • Make sure your expectations of behavior are clear.
  • Give your child time to transition, perhaps from play time to dinner time.
  • When possible, give your child a choice. “Do you want your bath now or after dinner?”

As a parent, avoid making these mistakes:

  • Don’t assume your child knows what you expect without telling him or her.
  • Don’t shout instructions from a distance.
  • Talk face-to-face.
  • Avoid sudden transitions, especially if your child is participating in enjoyable activities.
  • Avoid giving rapid-fire instructions.

Here are four common behavior issues in children and how you can handle them appropriately.

1. Rough play

Address this immediately by taking your child to the side and explaining that hurting someone else is not allowed. Talk about how your child would feel if that happened to him or her. Before the next play time, remind your child of his or her limits and end the play time if the rough behavior resurfaces.

2. Pretending not to hear you

It can be beyond frustrating to have to tell your child three, four or five times to pick up his or her toys, clean up a mess, or come inside. Beyond upsetting you, continually repeating a request to your child can get him or her used to waiting for the next reminder to do the task instead of doing it when first asked.

Instead, walk over to your child and speak directly to him or her. Have your child look directly at you while you speak and respond to you. You may need to say your child’s name, touch a shoulder or turn off the television. If that doesn’t work, impose a consequence, such as reduced video watching.

3. Displaying some “attitude”

Make sure your child understands the specifics that aren’t acceptable, so he or she understands what the behavior looks or sounds like. It might include eye rolling or using a certain tone of voice. If the behavior continues, don’t interact with your child; you might say, “When you’re ready to talk nicely, I’ll listen.”

4. Exaggerating

If your child says he or she went to Disney World, for example, when that trip is really something that’s desired (but hasn’t happened), talk to your child about the statement. Say that you understand it would be nice to go – and maybe someday you will – but it isn’t okay to tell a friend you’ve been when you haven’t. One mom told her child the story of the boy who cried wolf to illustrate how, if you exaggerate, someday people won’t believe you when you’re telling the truth.New Call-to-action