3 Tips for Dealing with Problem Behavior in Kids and Teens
When is problem behavior something to be concerned about and when is it just a phase that your child is going through? In this article, you'll learn the difference between the two along with some strategies to get your child back on track.
Although all children go through phases during which they are moody, somewhat rebellious and difficult in general, bad behavior becomes problematic when it is chronic. When your child's demands and disruptions constantly interfere with everyone else's sense of peace and happiness in your home, then you have a problem on your hands. When you have tried numerous ways to reach your child with no results, then you need to act fast. This is because it's important to stop problem behavior before it turns into a character style—a way of relating to or alienating others.
The attempts to change a child's behavior is called behavior modification. These techniques are designed to create observable changes in behavior. When your child's patterns change, then he has learned a new way of responding to what happens in his world.
3 Behavior Modification Tips for Parents
1. Be consistent. Don't punish a behavior one time and then let it go the next time. Your child needs to know that the rules are the rules and they are in place to keep him safe and ensure that everyone in the household respects the person and belongings of each other.
2. When your child has a bad attitude, keep your focus on his behavior. A bad attitude cannot be changed because it is a feeling inside, but behavior is made up of external actions that you can see. If you find yourself yelling about your child's attitude, stop. Put your focus on his actions and how they get him into trouble and harm others.
3. Although it may be difficult for you, let your child suffer the natural consequences of his actions. This alone can turn problem behavior around. Many of today's well-meaning parents make the mistake of rescuing their kids from the consequences of their actions. When you do this, instead of learning to take responsibility for what he does, your child learns that you will rescue him. For instance, if a child fails to turn an assignment in when it is due, let him get a bad grade, rather than calling the teacher and trying to make excuses for him. Let kids learn the lesson that there is a connection between what they do and what they get in life.
If you have tried these steps or other techniques and your child or teen is still chronically disrespectful or defiant, then get help and do it fast. The studies are clear: this kind of behavior usually does not get better on its own, in fact, it can even turn into criminal behavior. Getting your child help now can turn him around. One of the best ways to do this is with behavior modification techniques.
You can take your child to a good therapist or to use an at-home program designed specifically to turn around problem behavior. Although a therapist can be quite effective and is usually trained in these techniques, the at-home program is highly recommended because it teaches you the techniques that will turn your kid around, rather than paying a third party to do so. This way, you'll learn what works with your child and increase your skill as a parent.
Best of all, as problem behavior is replaced with a sense of accomplishment and personal responsibility, your child or teen will credit you with helping to turn his life around.
Laura Ramirez is an advocate who helps troubled kids get their lives back on track with an at-home behavioral modification program called Total Transformation which was developed by a therapist who was once a troubled teen himself.
She is also the award-winning author of the parenting book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting which teaches parents how to raise kids to develop their strengths and lead fulfilling, productive lives.