Dealing With a Difficult Child (Top Five Tips for Parents)

Any parent dealing with a difficult child can attest to how taxing and distressing it can get at times. This is especially true of kids with behavioral problems who are already going to school or are involved in extracurricular activities. Parents have to deal with complaints from school authorities and their child’s peers on top of everything else.

The most important thing parents can do when dealing with a difficult child is to provide a home that can help improve their kid’s behavior, as well as in their interaction with people surrounding them. Counsellors, teachers, and other persons of authority can only help do so much in guiding your child’s conduct. It is up to you to provide the groundwork for changing difficult behavior at home. Consider these five tips on child behavioral management for parents.

1. Let your child feel like your home is where they truly belong.

Home is where a child experiences a lot of firsts. It is also where the foundations of their character, attitude, quirks, and behavioral patterns are established. One of the most effective ways of dealing with a difficult child is to make them feel loved and important. Love brings more love, after all, and logic dictates that a well-loved child will be hard-pressed to create trouble or hurt to people who care for them.

Create roles, tasks, and assignments specifically for your child so they will feel like they’re contributing something significant to your home, have their own identity, are appreciated, and not regarded as being merely troublesome. Always be there when they need to confide about things. Be your child’s role model by behaving appropriately at all times, and keeping your temper even in stressful situations.

2. Talk to your spouse and other family members about consequences for bad behavior.

You can’t take on the task of dealing with a difficult child all by yourself. The rest of your family and other persons that matter need to be in on it, as well. The key for effective disciplining in cases of child misbehavior is consistency. Talk about consequences for misbehaving that are age-appropriate, will allow them to think about the actions that led to them being punished, and still be within the boundaries of fair treatment.

You and other older family members can give a warning before doling out the consequence so your child can learn to self-discipline. Once you give the consequence, do not attempt to explain or justify the punishment. Your child will soon learn to regard this as an inflexible thing in the house.

3. Be calmly authoritative but not bossy.

As a parent, it is automatically assumed that what you say goes. But there are ways of dealing with a difficult child without being bossy and harsh. Your child might regard you as a bully instead of a caring parent if this is the case, and could end up resenting your attempts to discipline. Worse, they can misbehave more just to see you reacting angrily.

It’s important to get your child’s attention when you want to point out a particular misbehavior that needs to be dealt with. Get them to look at you as you explain why their behavior cannot be tolerated, and ask them to repeat what you said. This will encourage your child to focus and respond on what they did, and acknowledge you as the person who is in charge of the situation. Be as calm as you can be when you do this. Raised voices are understandable at times, but don’t make a habit of it, and keep your temper in check.

4. Always acknowledge positive things about your child.

A misbehaving child can sense disappointment and resentment from their family and friends even at a tender age. In dealing with a difficult child, praises and compliments for positive behavior are as important as consequences are for negative ones. When they do the right things of their own volition, acknowledge the action even if it’s an ordinary one. Remember that just because it’s supposed to be done by your child doesn’t mean that it doesn’t merit praise. Children need affirmation; difficult children more so.

5. Adopt a child behavioral management system according to your lifestyle.

No two misbehaving children are alike. So when dealing with a difficult child at home, your behavioral management methods should be tailor-made for the circumstances and dynamics of your house and its members. You can get inspiration from and compare notes with other parents of misbehaving kids and seek help from specialists, but in the end, you will have to map out unique strategies for dealing with an unruly child.