For parents, child behaviour problems could be distressing, upsetting and even overwhelming. However one thing that parents need to remember is that most of these are temporary – children go through so many phases as they grow, that in a majority of cases, there is no reason to worry.
With gentle but firm consistency, most of these behaviour problems can be resolved. We look at some of the most common child behaviour problems that parents are likely to encounter as well as how parents can respond to and deal with such behavior.
Behaviour problems in younger children
Tantrums, backchat, disrespect, whining, ignoring behaviour and defiance are among the most common problems with younger children. As a parent, you need to understand where this behavior stems from. For smaller children it could be simple things like hunger, thirst, sleepiness or tiredness that could trigger bad behaviour.
Very often it could be boredom or just a need for attention that causes a child to behave a certain way. In these cases a child is not “being bad” to trying to press your buttons deliberately. So you first need to try and look at the reasons for your child behaviour problems – do they occur at a particular time of day or are there any triggers that cause the problem?
If so, you need to be firm but gentle with your child. Firstly alleviate your child’s discomfort if any, then give him or her the attention needed. And then firmly explain why such behavior is not acceptable and what the appropriate forms of behaviour are.
If you have eliminated these reasons for the problem and still find that the bad behavior persists, you have remember to be the adult in the situation. You cannot lose your cool and resort to shouting or out of control behaviour. You need to remain in control of the situation.
This way child doesn’t have the satisfaction of provoking you into behaving in a certain way. If your child finds that crying long enough will get them what they want; or that manipulation will make you change your mind, these kinds of child behaviour problems will become reinforced and will continue.
Concept of consequences
Research has shown how punitive forms of discipline could backfire – causing resentment and hampering self-esteem in a child. So does that mean that you let your child get away with bad behaviour or that you allow the child to carry license to liberty?
No it does not. Because research also tells us that children benefit from the setting of boundaries and that they find comfort in structure and consistency. Child behaviour problems can largely be controlled with setting of boundaries and consistent enforcement of rules.
You can help your child learn that behaviours have consequences – whereas good behavior has positive consequences, bad behavior will have negative consequences. Negative consequences can include withdrawal of privileges – TV viewing, play, treats and so on.
Consistency and gentle firmness from a parent, with dollops of love and affection could be the antidote to a majority of child behaviour problems!