Every parent experiences the same challenges when it comes to figuring out how to manage difficult behaviors of your child. These behaviors can range from refusing to brush their teeth at night, or throwing full-blown tantrums in the middle of the store because you said they cannot have their favorite toy they spotted on the shelf. You may find yourself at odds with finding ways on how to respond.
Using some of these behavioral therapy techniques, you can begin to manage problem behaviors and offer a chance to help your child develop the developmental skills they need to regulate their own behaviors.
Some steps on how to master good behavior management:
- Target behaviors. These target behaviors are known as “triggers”. These are the things that you know will make your child frustrated or upset. For example, does your child scream at night when you turn the i-pad off when it is time to go to sleep? Understanding what causes your child to get upset when the i-pad is taken away will allow you to realize how to avoid those behaviors. Perhaps, set a timer before taking the I-pad so it is a visual reminder that the I-pad will soon be taken away. Or, present the I-pad earlier in the evening as opposed to right before bed.
- Clear Expectations. You’ll get better cooperation if both of you and your child are clear on what’s expected. Sit down and communicate how your activity or task should look and maybe even sound like. Prepare to provide your reasoning behind your thinking as children will ask why. For example, “When we go into this store you are not able to touch items on the shelves because they could fall and break.”
- Let kids have a choice. The days of “because I told you so” are holding less power than years before. As kids grow up, it’s important that you as their parent foster their ability to become independent thinkers. This means providing them with a structured choice. For example, ask, “Do you want to take a bath before dinner or after dinner? Doing so helps your child to feel more empowered and encourages them to become more self-regulating.
By practicing these steps at home, you can be more at ease with managing those challenging behavior moments.