Author Topic: Problem Behaviors With Children  (Read 4032 times)

Sayfullah

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Ohio State University Fact Sheet
Family and Consumer Sciences
1787 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210
________________________________________
Problem Behaviors With Children
HYG-5260-96
Melinda J. Hill

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All children have behavior problems, some being harder to accept than others. Some of these behaviors can cause children to be aggressive, hostile and difficult to handle, which may emphasize their respective limitations. As parents we are our children's first and foremost teacher. We need to establish our plan for accomplishing rules and expectations.
"Why Does He/She Act This Way?"
When children react with aggression towards what was seemingly a simple request the underlying principle may be one of frustration. If tasks they could accomplish yesterday can't be done today, they become angry. If the tasks become more difficult or more restrictions are applied, they may react with anger.
When expectations are raised, children may become fearful that they can't accomplish what is expected. The fear may become overwhelming causing children to react to others in a negative manner. The type of aggression exhibited is determined by the problems that are presented. Sometimes subtle actions like not eating their food or bedwetting may be their response. Sometimes more violent actions become a way of controlling the situation. It becomes clear that even if the children can't communicate their frustration, they can act out the frustration and achieve attention.
"How Can I Deal With This Behavior?"
Balancing children's needs for independence along with your authority is one of a parent's greatest challenges. Remember that children's awareness of being able to choose not to comply with a command also means they are learning the first step in being able to choose outcomes. Be mindful of the individual child's age and developmental level when choosing your actions. Keep in mind the following tips as you are dealing with difficult behaviors:
   Know that discipline is not punishment. Discipline is training to help a child learn control of himself or herself.
   Realize the child's limitations and set expectations accordingly. Don't set the child or yourself up for defeat and more frustration.
   Learn to recognize early warning signs of frustration in your child. When children are approached with a problem or situation that they don't know how to handle, anxiety begins to take over.
Know what signs your child exhibits and offer other choices if possible. If, on the other hand, the child is just looking to you for support, lend a smile and let them venture on for themselves. This will develop confidence, improved skills and self control.
   Develop a discipline plan. Decide ahead of time how to deal with incidence of misbehavior. Planning and practice will lessen the anger and distress of the behavior.
   Use "time out" to remove the child from the situation and to allow the child to practice self control. A "time out" area could be a chair in the corner, a step, or anyplace where the child does not have access to toys, television, or other activities. Appropriate times would be one minute for each year of age. At the completion of the "time out" a discussion should follow to identify the reason for the "time out" and what other options might have been chosen. Ideally, when placed in situations where the child is unsure what behavior is appropriate, he or she will remove himself or herself in the same manner to re-establish self control.
   Recognize that sometimes no reaction is the best answer. Nonreaction is useful for behaviors that are not aggressive, like whining or pestering. If adults intervene too early on a situation, children don't have a chance to meet the challenge themselves and don't acquire new skills.
   Once you decide to respond to the child, do so quickly. The delay of your response until a task is finished or a conversation completed takes away from its effectiveness.
   Be consistent in the warnings you give and the consequence involved. Begging or whining should not change the outcome of the consequence.
   Be sure you have the child's attention when you are discussing the problem at hand. Take hold of the child's hands or wrists, look at him or her in the eye, and ask the child to look at you as you are talking. If the child cannot verbalize clearly, identify a way, like blinking of their eyes or moving hands that the child can help identify the problem.
   Don't wait until you lose your temper to react to the child's behavior. Know your own warning signs as well and react accordingly. Sometimes parents need a "time out" too.
   Know that rewards can be helpful in managing behavior if they help to establish a routine. However, improvements in behavior totally relying on rewards are short-lived and lack the lesson of self control. The reward of finding a toy to play with that was returned to the shelf after playing the last time, is an example of establishing a routine.
The total discipline plan should be consistent in order for the child to progress towards the goal of self-control. If the behavior gets worse after a plan has been implemented, chances are it's working. Children will test to the limit to see if the rules are going to be enforced. Address one or two issues at a time until the child becomes accustomed to the way you are dealing with his or her behavior. When you feel confident in handling the behavior, children will realize this and change their behavior accordingly. Remember, you are your child's first and most important teacher.

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Sayfullah

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Re: Problem Behaviors With Children
« Reply #1 on: 04, 12 »
Effective Kids Discipline
HYG-5261-96
Melinda J. Hill
Parents struggle with the appropriate ways to deal with the misbehavior of a child. When all of the efforts have produced little results, what is the next step?
Experts suggest that there are three areas that need to be examined, before further action is taken.
Ask yourself:
   Why is the child misbehaving?
   How am I handling the misbehavior?
   What specific tools can I find, to help me in this situation?
Why Do Children Misbehave?
Children have their own temperaments, personalities and individual ways of reacting to authority. When rules and limits are placed upon children they may test the rules to the limit to find out how far their independence can go. The expectations set for them by parents may be too strict or too lenient and the children may resort to misbehavior to gain the attention not gained when behavior is good or as normally expected.
Toddlers begin the journey to independence with the establishment of the word "no." Pre-schoolers and school-age children seek limits by testing what authority will allow and what they can get away with. A certain amount of defiance is expected, and healthy, as children establish their own independence.
Each situation will differ in terms of circumstances, personalities and responsibilities.
Parents sometimes have a tendency to compare children with their siblings and peers. Consider each child's growth and development and then ask yourself, "Is this child capable of behaving the way I want?" Have you seen him or her exhibit the manner of behavior you are seeking? Could there be a medical reason that the child can't reach your expectations? Or could there be other reasons that the misbehavior is occurring (a new baby, a move, or a divorce)? Stress in a child might surface as a behavior problem to achieve the attention he or she doesn't receive when acting appropriately.
How Can I Make My Discipline More Effective?
Establish some Home Rules
All family members old enough to participate can be involved in establishing home rules and consequences for violation of the rules. Holding family meetings to establish and regularly review and "update" rules is effective and helps to keep all family members informed and involved. Be sure to share these rules with others providing care to your children (relatives, care givers, etc.) so they will also know what the expectations are and actions they should take when children misbehave.
Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
Many times we speak before we think and make demands that we can't follow through with.
"If you cut your toes off with the lawn mower, don't come running to me."
"If you don't clean up the dishes, you won't have dinner for a month."
Don't say something that you can't follow through with. Think about the consequence of certain behaviors before expressing them. Also consider if and how you will be able to administer the consequence. Follow through your command with immediate consequences or rewards for the child's behavior.
Strive for Consistency
Confronting the behavior, when it occurs, giving the reason it is not acceptable, and following through with the consequence on a consistent basis is the most effective way to change the misbehavior. If we are not consistent, in disciplining a child, the child will believe it is all right to act this way sometimes, and continue the misbehavior on occasion.
Use a Firm Voice
Give commands in a firm controlled voice and with an authoritative manner. Don't make it a game for the child to guess if you mean it or not.
Get the Child's Attention
Make eye contact with the child before a command is issued. Yelling from across the room will not be effective.
Set Expectations
Don't ask the child to follow a command. Remind the child that you expect him or her to behave in certain ways. Explain what behavior is acceptable and what is not acceptable and what the consequences will be.
Remain in Authority
Stick to your guns. Don't get talked out of your feelings or your reasons for issuing the command and don't let the child wear you down.
One Step at a Time
Even when you have tried everything, having the right attitude will increase the child's self-esteem and offer the limits in a loving way. Chances are that if the behavior worsens, the modification is working. You are tightening the reins and they feel threatened. It will get better with consistent application.
Where Do I Go for More Help?
If prolonged or acutely severe behavior problems continue to exist after recommended intervention is attempted, then professional help is advised. Determine what services are available in your community through the school system, mental health centers, support groups, etc. Take advantage of services appropriate for your needs.
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