How to Handle a Difficult Child

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Much to the chagrin of parents who must tackle controlling them, some strong-willed children show neither a desire nor a willingness to comply with directions. If your child has these traits, you may find that the simplest requests are met with resistance. You can manage your difficult child more effectively by employing a few simple techniques.

Step 1

Build a rapport with your child. While you don’t want to be your child’s friend instead of his parent, being friendly with your child can make him more inclined to follow your directions. By creating a friendly, instead of adversarial, relationship, you can make your child feel valued and appreciated.

Step 2

Approach the behavior unemotionally. It is easy for parents to take their child’s misbehavior personally, but doing so makes it more difficult to handle. If you allow yourself to view your child’s behavior as a personal affront or an insult on you as a parent, you will likely struggle to deal with the behavior rationally.

Step 3

Tackle one issue at a time. While your difficult child may do a handful of things that you wish he wouldn’t, you can’t possibly effectively eliminate them all at once. You will likely be more effective in your efforts if you focus your attention on one problem area at a time.

Step 4

Remain consistent. Consistency is key when it comes to handling misbehavior. If you tell your child he is going to have a penalty for his behavior, don’t back out as doing so will undermine your authority.

Step 5

Give your child a voice. If your child is particularly difficult to handle, he may be struggling with some emotional issues. To ensure that your child has an outlet for his emotions, keep the channels of communication open and listen to your child when he tries to share with you.

Step 6

Ask for help if necessary. If you can’t handle your child, there is no shame in asking for help. Speak to your child’s pediatrician; ask for a referral to a counselor who could help.

Step 7

Take a break. Trying to tackle your child’s challenging behavior 24/7 can be too much to bear. To ensure that you don’t burn out, take time for yourself on occasion.

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