February 10, 2010

Unwanted Behaviors in Your Child

I often have parents express concerns about recent behavioral changes in their child. It's very concerning to parents when their otherwise agreeable child is now regressing, being overly dramatic or defiant or exhibiting behaviors that the parent has never seen before. Parents feel confused and helpless because nothing they do to correct the problem seems to be working.

I suggest taking the approach at looking at what changed when these behaviors started. Was there a move? A new baby added to the family? An illness, a death, etc.? Even though children are resilient and adapt to new situations that doesn't mean they adapt without any struggling. Often a child's reaction to a new situation is a change in behaviors.

Once you've pinpointed when the problem behaviors started you can then put a plan in place to address the unwanted behaviors. That may include ignoring the behaviors, redirecting it or giving your child more positive attention instead of attention for these negative behaviors.

Kids want and need their parents attention and they will do whatever it takes to get that attention. Pay attention to how you are responding to these unwanted behaviors. Are your responses fueling the fire? If so then you may have a difficult time getting these behaviors to stop. Put a plan into place as to how you want to respond to these behaviors and see if over a period of a few weeks, with consistency on your part, the unwanted behaviors go away.

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