Good Parenting: How to reduce problem behaviour in your child
As a parent we all face challenges with regard to our child’s conduct. Each time you are faced with a situation where your child disrespected a teacher, broke your favourite vase or used abusive words, you are left at a crossroad having to make a quick decision of how to react to it at that moment. How you respond to your child’s misconduct has a great deal of impact on the future occurrence of a similar behaviour.
Understanding the reasons for your kid’s behaviour is how you can begin dealing with this difficulty. There are several reasons that can cause behavioural disturbances. Some of the common causes of behavioural problems can be developmental delay, stress, family disputes/dysfunction, adjustment problems, and inappropriate expectations for age and so on.
It is essential to keep in mind that some of the problematic behaviours can be normal for some age groups like occasional temper tantrums in a 4 or 5 year old who just began to gain control over his/her emotions. Having higher expectations from a child can lead to the perception of a problematic behaviour and can cause added distress to the parents. That in turn can cause the parent to lash out on the child and worsen the problem behaviour.
Here are some ways to help prevent or reduce problem behaviours in children.
· Be an understanding parent. You can build a good relationship with your child by being a good listener. Engage as much as possible with your child to spend more quality time with them. You can read more useful tips on how to befriend your child here.
· Look for any obvious reasons. Hunger, extremes of temperature, anxiety or fatigue can make it difficult for your child to overcome his/her misbehaviour. Make the environment conducive for your child to carry out various activities. For e.g. when it is time to sleep, the TV should not be playing loudly.
· Communicate your expectations clearly with the child even if you think it is obvious; don’t assume your child knows how to behave. Your child will be able to demonstrate better behaviour if you were unambiguous while stating it. “Sit quietly at the dinner table for 10 minutes” is less confusing than a vague instruction like “Be good”. Here are some more details about effective communication.
· Identify and reward the child for good behaviour. Rewards in the form of positive attention, praise and encouragement will not only help increase good behaviour but also enhance relationship with your child and help them build their self-esteem.
· Be consistent in your reaction to the child’s behaviour. Sometimes parents can understandably be frustrated due to many other reasons and may tend to overreact. This may not only be confusing for the child but also demoralize the child to stop trying to correct his/her behaviour.
· Avoid criticizing, yelling, raising your voice or beating your child. This increases problematic behaviour and also worsens your child’s self-esteem. Any form of attention given to the bad behaviour can tend to make it reoccur repeatedly. · Being a role model. A child learns constantly from his surroundings and parents are the ones who are in regular contact with them. If you do not follow the rules, nor will your children.
While these measures may help with minor misbehaviours, aggressive or destructive behaviours need professional intervention by experts. Identifying the problematic behaviour early can help parents prevent its worsening with timely help.