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If you are a parent, then you most likely have dealt with a some challenging behaviors.  Some parents seem to have more difficulty than otherimages.jpgrs.  The difference is not always luck.  Parents can do specific things that can make problem behaviors worse, keep them the same, or make them decrease.

As a parent, our ultimate goal is to have children who routinely exercise self-control and acceptable behaviors.  It is best to assume that a proactive “teaching” approach will keep yourself calm and avoid power struggles with your child.

  • Rule # 1: Never argue with your child!
  • Before the behavior occurs, discuss choices your child can make about how to act.  Anticipate problems and discuss ways of solving conflicts, how to handle frustrations, and how to express their wants and desires appropriately.
  • Encourage your child to use their words in order to get their wishes and feelings known. “You are too close to me.” – rather than pushing; “Stay out of my backpack.” – rather than hitting; “I really want to go swimming.” – rather than demanding, begging, and pleading.
  • Acknowledge appropriate behavior and reward it intermittently.
  • Remind your child of the reason behind any rule or consequence to a behavior at the time the rule is being enforced. Have them repeat the reason for having the rule, back to you.  “Kicking can hurt someone.” “Kicking doesn’t solve the problem.”  Brainstorm other ways to deal with the problem.
  • Teach your child how to make and keep friends. (smiling, talking, listening, cooperative play, turn taking, how to start a conversation, interactive play, sharing…)
  • Teach problem solving and resolution skills. (role play with puppets, books)
  • Be empathetic to your child’s problems and frustrations. Help them process ways to deal with disappointment, anger, irritation, and sadness.
  • Seek to discover the cause of the behavior. You will gain insight that will make you more empathetic to their problems.

Diane Reed, LPCC

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