Understanding Child Behavior, problems and Ways To Give Your Child Trust
In order to understand why your child is misbehaving it is helpful to keep a diary:
- Identify one behaviour that you would like to change in your child. Be as specific as you can e.g. wont do as she / he is told, hitting, demands things, whines, shouts. Write this behaviour down.
- When the behaviour occurs, write down what caused it (triggers) and what happened afterwards (the result).
- After a week try to see if there is any pattern to the behaviour. When is it occurring ( particular time, situations)? Who is it occurring with? What are the reasons ? What are the consequences ? Ask yourself what is my child learning from the way I respond to this behaviour? Am I setting limits and boundaries consistently ?
Once you have a clear picture you are ready to change the pattern by changing the triggers and consequences after observing this behaviour pattern. You may have to try and ignore certain behaviour, try not to give in, remove certain privileges, look and sound as if you mean it when asking you child to do something. Most importantly concentrate on encouraging and rewarding good behaviour all the time !
How To Cope Positively With Difficult Child Behavior.
1. Establish House Rules
Make simple rules for your child. Start with a few “things we do and don’t do.” Discuss them with your child.
2. Prevention Is Better Than Cure
If you feel that your child’s behaviour is beginning to get out of control, “nip it in the bud” by distracting your child’s attention onto a positive activity or game.
3. Understand Your Child’s Behaviour
Define simply and clearly any difficult behaviour. Keep a diary of what led up to the behaviour and what immediately followed it. From this, see if there is a pattern. What are the triggers and consequences which might be keeping the behaviour going? DON’T blame yourself but work at changing your responses.
4. Discipline With Short Time-Outs
Try to view discipline in a different way e.g. if a rule is broken, discipline with a time out a short, quiet time alone, without play. Alternatively ignore minor behaviour difficulties as your attention will often inadvertently encourage the very behaviour you want to stop.
5. Take Five
When tensions and anger rise in you or your child take five. Take five minutes to cool down and to ask yourself, “Why am I getting so angry?” Try to identify the real problem, then find the solution. Always control your temper.
6. Never Strike In Anger
Research has shown that hitting your child does not help, and can do more damage. Try to avoid striking your child in anger. Smacking is not effective in reducing poor behaviour, as it does not teach children good behaviour.
7. Don’t Yell or shout at children
Try to avoid yelling at your children in anger. Do not put down your children. If they break a rule, tell them what they did wrong and why that makes you angry. Be angry at what they did, NOT at who they are.
8. Get Away
When you feel frustrated, angry or uncontrollable, let your feelings out safely away from your children. Get out. Take a walk. Do not stay alone with your children when you are overwhelmed. Get help and support.
Ways To Give Your Child Trust
1. Be There
Talk to your child. What was their day like? Be available. Encourage your child to express feelings creatively by keeping a diary or drawing
2. Be Consistent
Establish a reliable routine. A clear and consistent routine helps a child feel safe and secure.
3. Let Your “No” Be No
If you say “no” to your child, make sure you both understand what that means and keep to the rule. Do not shout. Your child wants to know that your “no” means no.
By Dr. L Batra