How to Deal with Children Who Have Behavior Problems: 8 Steps
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Help your child become the perfect little angel you know she can be.

If your child’s behavior often sends you straight to the freezer to devour yet another pint of chocolate fudge ripple out of pure frustration, you're not alone. Instead of having to stockpile ice cream, it's a whole lot easier -- and better for your waistline -- to find ways to deal with your child’s behavior problems. Following a few basic steps can allow you to spend more time enjoying your little one without having to constantly to discipline him -- or avoid every grocery store or restaurant in town.


  1. 1
    Take a deep breath and stay calm. Don't raise your voice or exhibit any physical signs of your frustration. Your child looks to you as an example for how to behave -- and if she sees you yelling or slamming things around, that's her green light to repeat the behavior herself.
  2. 2
    Take time for yourself. It’s OK to have some mommy-time every once in a while. When you have a willing and capable sitter to spend some time with your child, take that time to read a book, go shopping or go for a run. Obviously, any busy mom doesn’t have lots of spare time, but even taking 10 minutes out of your day will increase your patience level when you little one exhibits behavior problems. A happier mommy leads to a happier child -- which means less behavior issues.
  3. 3
    Establish a routine and stick to it. Even though you might want to change your child's eating or nap schedule because you're on the vacation, or it's the holiday season, avoid doing so because a young child needs to know comes next. When your little guy knows what to expect, negative behavior occurs less frequently.
  4. 4
    Give your child the attention he needs. Sometimes, little ones will throw a tantrum because they feel like you're ignoring them -- and in their little minds, negative attention is better than no attention at all.
  5. 5
    Let you child have some control over the little things in his life. As children develop, they naturally have a need for autonomy and want a sense of independence -- and might throw a tantrum if they feel no sense of control. You can help your little guy along by letting him make some decisions for himself. For example, ask him what he wants to drink, or what shirt he wants to wear.
  6. 6
    Stand firm. If your child does pitch a fit, don't give into her demands once the tantrum is over. Instead, simply give her a hug and some praise for regaining control -- then get on with whatever you were doing.
  7. 7
    Talk about behavior expectations with your child. You may think your toddler or preschooler isn’t capable of understanding your requests, but that's just not true. If you use kid-friendly language like “Honey, you need to ask nicely for what you want. Hitting is wrong,” he'll understand what you expect him to do. Be kind but firm in your direction and leave no room for your little guy to misinterpret your requests. Also, try look for positive behaviors -- then point them out and offer small rewards. For example, if your child sits patiently in the doctor's office, tell him that you're proud of him for doing this -- and explain that because he behaved so well, you're going to stop at the library and get some new books to read together.
  8. 8
    Seek the help of a professional if you are at the end of your rope. It’s okay to ask someone else for help if your child's bad behavior persists. This can benefit both you and your rowdy toddler. Ask your pediatrician or child's preschool teacher for recommendations of a psychologist or behavior therapist who can offer strategies developed for your child to help improve his behavior in a variety of situations.


  • Talk to other moms about any behavior issues you're having with your preschooler. Usually they're experiencing the same thing -- and are often wonderful resources for additional tips and tricks.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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