If your children are difficult to deal with, it may be because the difficult behaviors are working for them. Kids often whine, become angry, have tantrums, argue and challenge you to get attention and to get something they want. If you give in, you are asking for more of the same behavior. Children don’t set out and plan this type of strategy to get what they want. These are learned behaviors that parents help shape, according to WebMD. If you ignore polite behavior and only react to bad behavior, you are encouraging the bad behavior.
Pay attention to your child. Don’t wait until your child is in distress to acknowledge her, according to WebMD. If you are attentive to your child when she has a legitimate need, you can address it before she resorts to negative behaviors.
Model Appropriate Behavior
When your child is being difficult, take a deep breath. Address him calmly. Tell him in a kind, but firm, tone that you do not like his behavior and that you will respond to him when he starts behaving nicely. For small children, model the exact way you would like him to behave.
Praise Good Behavior
When your child is not asking for anything, but is playing nicely, for example, praise her. Tell her that you notice how nicely she is playing and that you like it. Or, if she cleaned her room without you asking her, make sure you notice and tell her how much you appreciate her cleaning her room.
Avoid Power Struggles
It’s best not to get into power struggles with your child because that is putting you on his level. If you do find yourself in an argument with your child, make sure you win. If you lose the battle, your child feels empowered to try this again.
You must discipline your child if she behaves badly. Be consistent with your punishments. Your child should know that if she engages in a certain behavior that it will result in a certain punishment. You cannot let the bad behavior go unpunished sometimes and punished at other times. That confuses your child.
If your child is difficult, you might know when he is likely to act out. For example, if he has tantrums at the grocery store because he wants candy, tell your child before you go to the store what you will and will not be buying, and that you do not want him having a tantrum in the store about candy. When you get in the car to leave, and if he did not have a tantrum, make sure you acknowledge that by telling him how proud you are of him.
- angry preschooler image by Lisa Eastman from Fotolia.com