Behavior Management - How to Stop Bad Behavior

Behavior management ...

... all kids act up at times, especially if their basic needs have not been met. Like adults, kids need to be well-rested, well-fed and have a balance of structured and unstructured activity in order to be at their best. Although most every child can be oppositional at times, if behaviors like talking back, arguing, defying parents and disregarding the rules turns into a pattern, parents have a problem on their hands. In this article, you learn which behaviors are a normal part of child development, when patterns of behavior signal trouble and what to do about it. I also invite you to submit your questions about child behavior development on our forum.

Behavior Management - What Is Normal?

Around the time your child reaches the age of two, you may notice that suddenly your happy, reasonably compliant child may start acting out, throwing tantrums, talking back and being defiant. These changes are part of normal child development and occur because the child is beginning to realize that he is separate from you and has the power to express his will. Although it is important that your child learns to express his needs, wants and feelings, the outbursts and opposition are often referred to as the terrible-twos.

behavior management

The next phase of development when you may experience opposition from your child is during adolescence. An adolescent is bigger, stronger and more willful than a toddler. Although your adolescent may not throw himself to the floor and tantrum like a two-year old, he will be argumentative, hostile, disrespectful, oversensitive and defiant in ways that may exhaust your patience and all your resources.

Behavior Management: Distinguishing Between Normal and Abnormal

How do you know when your child's behavior is a cause for concern. The key is to look for patterns of behavior that include the following:

  • excessive arguing (especially with parents, teachers and other authorities)
  • outright defiance
  • absolute refusal to follow rules and comply with reasonable requests
  • unwillingness to take responsibility for behavior; blames others for his mistakes and outbursts
  • deliberately annoys or upsets others (you may start to wonder if your child enjoys this)
  • seeks revenge, rather than being reflective
  • when he's upset, he says mean and hurtful things
  • seems chronically angry and negative

If this describes your child, then he may have something called "oppositional defiant disorder". For a psychologist to diagnose this, your child must exhibit these behaviors in a number of settings—not just at home—although your family will probably bear the brunt of these unsavory experiences.

It is crucial understand that you must get help if your child's behavior fits this profile and all your attempts at behavior management have failed. Left unchecked oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) can worsen and become conduct disorder which can lead to antisocial and criminal behavior during the teen years and throughout life. Consider your child's behavior a cry for help because there is something you can do something about it and it does not involve medicating your child.

What works for kids with ODD (or even kids who some symptoms but do not have ODD) is a behavioral program that teaches them how to cope with stress and overcome frustration without lashing out at others. Learning how to teach your child coping skills heals the rupture in your relationship, builds respect and gives him life skills that will turn him into a happy, secure kid and serve him throughout his life. This is the only method that I know of that has proved effective. It is also a humane way to deal with a child who does not know how to deal with life.

In searching for effective programs to recommend to all the parents who have written me in desperation, I have found and reviewed this behavior management program. It was created by Jim Lehman, a therapist who has helped thousands of kids transform their behavior by working with them in school and in therapy. After over twenty years of helping turn around angry, troubled kids, Lehman has made his system available for home use. I could say so much more about it, but click on the link so you can find out more and start working with your child to restore a sense of peace and happiness to your home.

For kids who have not been diagnosed with ODD, but have a tendency to be defiant or exhibit child problem behavior, this program can still be effective. As a parent, one of the most important things that you can do is teach your child how to get along with others (and this begins at home) and how to cope with the struggles and challenges that inevitably come our way.

Behavior Management - Parenting

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