Dealing with your Child's Behaviour
No child is perfect all of the time and if another parent tells you their child is perfect... they are lying! Just think back to when you were a child... we all pushed boundaries, answered back, sulked, had temper tantrums etc. This is part of growing up and learning to regulate our feelings/emotions.
Remember, children need to take ownership of their actions and behaviours. Only when a child learns to except responsibility for their own actions or the part they played, can they really grow as an individual. We can all make excuses or make excuses for them (parent making excuses for child), but what we need to do is use these as valued learning discussions and an opportunity to teach and support our children in understanding behaviours or others as well as their own.
Difficult behaviour in children can simply be related to them being tired, hungry, overexcited, frustrated or bored.
The information below comes from the NHS website, please click on the link.
How to handle difficult behaviour?
If problem behaviour is causing you or your child distress, or upsetting the rest of the family, it's important to deal with it. We know this can feel you with dread or you feel exhausted from a hard week at work. However, if you do not deal with behaviour consistently and appropriately it could become unmanageable!
When dealing with behaviour it has to be right for you, your child and your family. Everyone will have an opinion, but you need to ensure a consistent approach which everyone is clear about. If someone doesn't believe in an aspect or they don't feel it is right, it probably will not work! Children notice when you do not mean what you're saying!
Once you've decided to do something, continue to do it. Solutions take time to work. Get support from your partner, a friend, another parent or your health visitor. It's good to have someone to talk to about what you're doing. Being a parent is hard work and we all get it wrong at times! Do not beat yourself up about it, own it, apologise to your child when you got it wrong - we are human, we make mistakes, so model this to your child(ren).
Children need consistency - be consistent. Reacting in different ways when dealing with your child's behaviour is confusing to them. It is important that everyone who is close to your child deals with their behaviour in the same way. This needs to be communicated to everyone.
Try not to overreact - this is extremely difficult at times! Frustration and anger can build up in all of us, so be mindful of this fact when dealing with behaviour. It is impossible not to show your irritation sometimes, but try to stay calm. Remember: talking about your difficulties with other parents of professionals is not failure - most of them will have experienced this themselves.
Talk to your child
Children do not have to be able to talk to understand. It can help if they understand why you want them to do something. For example, explain why you want them to hold your hand while crossing the road.
Once your child can talk, encourage them to explain why they're angry or upset. This will help them feel less frustrated.
Be positive about the good things
When a child's behaviour is difficult, the things they do well can be overlooked. Tell your child when you're pleased about something they've done. You can let your child know when you're pleased by giving them attention, a hug or a smile.
You can help your child by rewarding them for good behaviour. For example, praise them or give them their favourite food for tea.
If your child behaves well, tell them how pleased you are. Be specific. Say something like, "Well done for putting your toys back in the box when I asked you to."
Do not give your child a reward before they've done what they were asked to do. That's a bribe, not a reward.
Things that can affect your child's behaviour
Other Top Tips...
Avoid using their beds for multiple purposes. Studies show that sleep efficiency is magnified when the bed/bedroom is seen as a place to sleep, not to game or socialise.
Avoid having their smartphones in their bedrooms at night, and certainly not in visible modes. Studies show that even the presence of a smartphone in the sleeping room can encourage the habitat of checking it or being aware of the light from the screen as it flickers and hums for our attention.
Be consistent with managing behaviours (both sanctions and rewards), establishing routines and rules – mean what you say – follow through. Use this policy to support you and your family at home.
If you are not happy with something at school, please do not challenge the adult while your child is present - if a child sees you not respecting another adult, they won't either. Please think of your audience.
Emotion coaching in practice
Step 1: Recognising, empathising, soothing to calm (‘I understand how you feel, you’re not alone’).
Step 2: Validating the feelings and labelling (‘This is what is happening, this is what you’re feeling’).
Step 3 (if needed): Setting limits on behaviour (‘We can’t always get what we want’).
Step 4: Problem-solving with the child/young person (‘We can sort this out’)
Do not feel you have to cope alone. If you're struggling with your child's behaviour: