Behaviour Problems in Children – How Can I Get my Child to Behave

This is one of the most common questions I get asked in my private practice – How can I get my child to behave?

Without knowing  what precise concern or issue brought you to this post, I will give you some tips but, more often than not, most parents have solutions to behavioural issues but they don’t realise this until we start working together.

The best trick in the book to getting your child to behave is by encouraging good behaviour.

I’ll give you 3 tips that I frequently share with my Triple P clients (Triple P stands for Positive Parenting Program)

Behaviour Problems in Children – How can I get my child to behave

  • Praise your child.  This works very well for all ages, including teenagers and it works like this.  Each time you see your child behaving well or accomplishing a task that they had been struggling with, praise them. Be enthusiastic as you do this and mean what you say.

The praise you give your child can be in the form of a statement where you describe exactly what you like e.g. “I’m really pleased you cleared your dinner plate when you finished eating.”

Or by just stating your approval for a behaviour you have observed, for instance, “Well done!  That’s great!”  This is probably best used when your child knows exactly what you are talking about.

Either way, praising your child’s good behaviour will go along way in getting your child to behave well.

There’s one more thing you may want to try. A brilliant psychologist Haim Ginott puts it better than anyone I know

“If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.”

  • Giving your child attention also goes a long way in improving your child’s behaviour.  Giving attention doesn’t necessarily mean engaging in an hour-long activity with your child.  There are several other ways you can do this.

For instance, let your child catch you watching him with love and affection.  You don’t have to say anything.  And when the two of you lock eyes, send her a smile, a wink or just a nod.

Another way you can give your child attention is by spending little moments with him or her, especially when they are the ones who request your attention. Short bursts can at times be more beneficial than long blocks of time

Imagine how powerful giving attention coupled with praise can be in changing your child’s behaviour?  Putting this into practice means that you, as the parent or guardian, will be focusing more on the behaviour you want to see rather than the behaviour don’t want to see.

Remember, as with all new strategies and techniques, you will have to be persistent and consistent.  It takes time but it’s all worth it.

  • Finally, in order for you to get your child to behave well, you will need to have interesting activities. Sounds obvious and straightforward but think about how often your child might be misbehaving due to boredom or restlessness.  Just as you prepare for a long journey by making certain that you have adequate entertainment for your child, you do the same at home by ensuring that your child is able to entertain him or herself.

Doing this means that they are busy and less likely to get into trouble.

One thing I remember doing for my youngest daughter, when she was able to get in and out of bed on her own, was to place various toys and books around her bedroom floor so when she woke up in the morning, she could just get on with it.

I knew what her favourite books were and what toys she would like to play with first thing in the morning.  This helped keep her busy for a while before venturing into our bedroom, more often than not, with a book she wanted us to read.

In the kitchen too, we had a cupboard just for her.  This cupboard contained utensils that we knew wouldn’t hurt her such as pots, pans, colander, wooden spoons etc.  So when we were busy preparing a meal, she could have a good rummage through the cupboard, make a noise and mess, happily and safely.

Having interesting activities helps children learn too.  The manipulation of objects for instance means that the hand is in search of the brain and the brain in search of the hand.  The activity that your child is engaging with at that point, is what links these two.  And it has been found that using and working with hands from a young age plays a huge role in problem solving.

Struggling with your child’s behaviour? Contact me – 07850 85 60 66. Did you now that sometimes, all it takes is but a small change to see a huge difference?

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

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