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On any given day you have probably been involved in two or three temper tantrums thrown by your child over everything from brushing their teeth in the morning, to who gets to sit in front in the car all the way up to what time they think their bedtime should be extended to!
The truth is, bad behavior is as much a part of childhood as nose picking and scraped knees are. Many parents often encounter at least one or more of the above situations at some point of the parenting experience.
The key to ending your child’s bad behavior is trying to understand why your child is misbehaving. Contrary to how things may seem, most kids like to behave in a manner that makes them (and you) proud – at least most of the time. If you can control your temper long enough, you will realize that your child’s purpose in life is not really to try and make you lose all sense of self-control and reasoning! By acknowledging to yourself that acting up is a normal part of childhood—and not just a sign of parental inadequacy, you are on your way to helping your child feel as if you and her are both on the same team.
We’ve all been there. Its nearing bedtime and you tell your child it’s time to turn off the TV. At first he appears to have suddenly lost his sense of hearing, and then when that doesn’t work he screams, “NO!” At this point you’ve decided that he must go to bed. You ARE going to have the last word. The situation escalates and suddenly you’re in the middle of a full blown screaming match.
The solution here is learning how to curb your temper. By keeping cool you are showing your child that you are in control of the situation. And as annoying as it is, learn to tolerate a certain amount of grumbling. Your child’s “I don’t want to go to bed!” lets him vent his feelings. He/she is also trying to distract you, if you answer him; you’re being drawn into an argument, which is the last thing you want. Either ignore the comments or say something understanding: “I know you want to watch another cartoon, but I’m afraid its bedtime now.” Remaining consistent is very important. No matter what the rules are, if they are not enforced everyday, on the days that you do decide that you want to enforce them, you’re just asking for questions, moaning and groaning.
Not Knowing Right From Wrong
Every household has it’s own rules, expectations, and ways of doing things. And kids are not born knowing all of yours. As a result they will be drawn to experiment again and again…it is how they learn.
As a parent, you need to set clear rules and expectations. These must be repeated time and time again: “And remember, we only draw on the paper. No drawing anywhere but on the paper.” Eventually your child WILL get the message.
Giving your child positive feedback is also very effective. If your child is hearing “NO,” “Stop that,” and “don’t you ever listen?” from you all day, it just discourages both of you. You feel like you’re failing at being a parent, and your child feels as if he/she can’t do anything right, and will soon stop trying. Instead try looking for things that you’re child does that you can praise him on: “I’m so happy that you finished all your food, so that you’ll grow up to be big and strong.” Praising your child will help him realize that you are proud of him.
Keep Them Serviced
Just like a car that is missing a part, has run out of fuel, or whose battery is dead, when kids are tired, hungry or not feeling well, they become irritable, and cranky and basically, they just don’t function as well. What makes it worse, is that unlike adults, kids don’t have the skills to deal with or control these emotions. The result: Monstrous Meltdown!
“When my son wants to sleep he seems to turn into a monster that is beyond all reasoning and control,” says Nada Salem from Alexandria. What parents need to realize is that it really is worth it to arrange their schedules around their child’s naptimes. A rested child is simply a different child.
If your little princess suddenly turns into the wicked witch, if she misses her snack, be prepared. Expecting your child to control itself and listen to your demand to stop whining for those cookies may require much more control than your child is able to gather together when it has been a few hours since he/she last put food in her tiny tummy. You should always keep an extra snack in you bag or a water bottle in your car. Remember, kids will finally learn to control themselves, but until the age of 6, they are completely powerless over their immediate needs.
One thing is certain and that is we will never be able to understand every reason why children misbehave. However it is every parent’s job to keep setting limits, to keep their children safe and guide them into adulthood. And if parents can do that without losing their sanity…well good luck to you!