A child's behavioral problems can take a toll on everyone in the family or household. From isolating themselves to anger and violence to severe problems at school, these children are suffering as much as you are.
But how can you tell whether your child is in trouble or just experiencing normal childhood angst? The following are some questions and answers that might help.
Aggressive behavior in children can be problematic because these behaviors can begin as simple acts of disobedience and later manifest into destructive and physically harmful behaviors. These are difficult behaviors to handle as a parent, but with some work, these behaviors can usually be corrected.
Here are a few suggestions to begin correcting aggressive behavior in your child:
Parents should also model the behavior they expect from children. Make sure your child sees you calm and using coping strategies similar to what you are teaching him/her. After a few weeks, if you don't notice changes in your child's behavior, seek out a trained professional.
When you discover that your child is cutting, you may initially experience feelings of disbelief, denial, fear and guilt. This is normal, but you must quickly move into parenting mode to help your child.
Teens often use cutting as a way to relieve or express emotions they are facing. Most who cut say that it makes them feel better; however, a serious risk is that the cutter slices too deep or cuts become infected. There are other ways to cope with these emotions, so it is important to help your child identify healthier ways to deal with his/her feelings.
Self-injury should not be ignored. Now that you are aware of it, you can help your child stop. Start by educating yourself about self-injury. Understanding such behavior can help you learn why your child is engaging in it. Prepare and educate yourself before discussing your concerns with your child. This will contribute to a more open conversation. Here are a few tips for talking to your child who is cutting:
Remember that this is a process and cutting will not stop overnight. Be patient with your child and encourage him/her to be honest with you about cutting. If the behavior continues, then it is critical that you seek professional help, such as that of a therapist.
When a child talks about suicide, the most important thing you can do as a parent is take your child's talk or threats seriously.
Children struggle in school for a variety of reasons. They may be experiencing problems with peers. They might have trouble understanding the material. They could have difficulty getting along with the teacher. They might be bored with the subject material. They even could have trouble paying attention in class.
If you feel you have tried everything but nothing is helping your child, then it may be time to make an appointment with your child's school counselor or an outside therapist. Something else could be going on that your child is afraid to discuss with you and that is ultimately affecting his/her academic behavior. Your child could also be struggling with an undiagnosed learning disability.
It's not uncommon for children of all ages to lie or withhold information in order to avoid conflict, punishment or embarrassment. Often, a lie is easier than admitting responsibility for their behavior.
Bedtime can be a difficult time for everyone in the family. Parents are typically tired and ready for some downtime. Children are typically resistant to going to bed for a number of reasons. The goal is to establish a routine and some guidelines that will help this time of day go smoothly.
If your family includes children of a variety of ages, schedule earlier bedtimes for the younger children and individualize times as children develop and mature. If you are uncertain how many hours of sleep your child requires, consult your pediatrician or family doctor.
Plan manageable and consistent bedtime routines. Whether you or someone else is in charge, design bedtimes with consistency in mind. Let your children know ahead of time. Encourage children to ask questions or make suggestions of what to include in the routine. Adjust activities so they are age and developmentally appropriate. Recognize and praise children's efforts to adhere to the new routine.
The bedtime routine should include activities such as the following:
For some young children, bedtime can be traumatic. They often don't like to be alone, and they don't want to miss out on anything that might be going on in other parts of the home. Sometimes they are scared of monsters or the noises the house makes.
Young children respond more readily to sounds, smells and touch. The following are some suggested activities for the bedtime routine:
When your child gets out of bed or cries for attention, respond each time with a calm, soft voice, repeating that it is time to go to sleep, Mom/Dad loves you, see you in the morning. Lay your child back down in bed, perhaps rub or pat his/her back briefly, and then walk out.
If “monsters" are a concern for your child, using Monster Spray around the room works wonders. Mix about an inch of cold water and a drop or two of lemon juice (monsters hate sour stuff) in a small spray bottle. Then, right before bed, allow your child, armed with the bottle, to make one spray to each space in the room where a monster may lurk. The bottle should be out of the child's reach the rest of the time and reserved for bedtime use only.
Reserve a bit of energy from your day to put into the bedtime routine and brief follow-up and the routine will go smoother.
Talking back is a common problem for all ages of children. It typically occurs when they are asked to do something they don't want to do or they are told they cannot do something they want to do. It often sounds like, “that's not fair!" or “why do I have to do that?" If this sounds familiar, there are a few things that you can do to effect changes.
If you can catch this behavior while it is small, by teaching and practicing a healthy alternative, it will be easier to change. If it continues or increases, a negative consequence may be added along with the teaching and practicing.
It can be scary if your teenager makes the choice to not come home when they are supposed to or leave home without permission. Often, this is done to avoid following a house rule or punishment, or to do something they would not be allowed to. If your child is gone without permission, here are a few things you can do for their safety:
These are just a few ideas to help locate your child and set up expectations so he/she does not run again.
Parenting as a married couple can be difficult with blending different parenting styles. Many times disagreements occur when deciding what is important and how to handle their children's behaviors. When a couple divorces additional challenges arise, negotiation is more difficult, inconsistencies from one parent to the other breed manipulation by the children. There are a few things that can help improve your parenting approach.
If you are unable to maintain this agreement, perhaps seeking help from an impartial party to guide you or attending a parenting class could be helpful. If you feel like you are at an impasse consider scheduling a session with a family counselor.
Parenting is a tough job and takes a lot of time and work. Rise to the challenge and focus on the long-term outcome of your efforts.
This type of behavior can begin as early as elementary school and should be addressed as soon as it is observed. Teaching about what makes a good friend and how to be a good friend are ways to help your child understand.
When the teen years arrive, they may gravitate towards the bad crowd when they are not fitting in anywhere else and want to be a part of a group. They may want to engage in risky behavior, appear cool and tough and can be pressured by others simply to fit in.
We suggest that you discipline your child with LOVE. Many parents think of discipline as something negative, something punishing. It is actually something that is good for kids, good for families and a loving way to teach right from wrong. Discipline teaches kids that the choices they make greatly influence what happens to them.