6 Tips to Reduce Your Child's Behavior Problems

Behavior Management Helps Reduce Your Child's Behavior Problems

If your child's behavior is a problem at home and/or school, you're not alone. A teacher or counselor can help with your child's specific behavior problems. Some students with learning disabilities or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) need a behavior modification plan in their individualized education programs (IEPs), but many behaviors can be minimized by controlling your response to them. With these tips, you can decrease behavior problems using redirection. The goal of redirection is to teach your child to monitor and correct his or her own behavior.


Ensure Your Child Understands Why Her Behavior Is a Problem

Mother and daughter talking together
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While it may seem your child should "know better," talking about behavior is an important first step in behavior management. Some kids don't think about their behavior or anticipate consequences when they have impulse control problems and difficulty picking up on social expectations. Describe problem behavior in a firm but non-confrontational tone. Some kids respond better to a whispered reminder than a loud voice. Explain the behavior in specific terms your child will understand and state why it's a problem.

  • Do say: Throwing the baseball in the house can hurt someone.
  • Don't say: Stop rough-housing.

Explain Why Behavior Is a Problem and What Will Be Done About It

Clearly state the problems caused by your child's behavior. He or she may be getting on your last nerve, but avoid criticizing him or her in a personal way.

Realize you may need to repeat this strategy over time until your child stops the problem behavior.

  • Do say: Your clothes are dirty because they were under your bed and not in the laundry basket. I'll show you how to wash them.
  • Don't say: If you're too lazy to put your clothes in the basket, I'm not washing them.

Model Appropriate Behavior for Your Child

Before responding to your child's behavior, it can be helpful to take three deep breaths to relax and think about what the best response would be. Calmly but firmly, explain the behavior you want your child to perform. Use specific language to describe what he or she should or shouldn't do. Strive to keep a firm but unemotional tone that's free from sarcasm.

  • Do say: Please use a quiet voice inside the restaurant.
  • Don't say: Act right.

Show by Your Actions and Attitude That You Believe in Your Child

Encourage and reinforce your child's positive behaviors whenever possible.

Although you may be frustrated by ​your child's behavior, speak positively to your child and let her know you have confidence in her.


Recognize That Behavior Change Can Take Time

Give honest, specific praise for any progress your child makes toward meeting behavior goals, even if he doesn't meet the goal in its entirety.


Plan Ahead for Safe and Appropriate Options When Behavior Is a Problem

Know what situations cause problems for your child, and prepare safe alternatives for her. Young children may enjoy role-playing ahead of time to learn the rules and expectations of the setting you will be in.

Rehearse with them what they can do if they become angry or need to release some energy.

Breathing techniques, taking a quick walk with a parent, playing word games, practicing math facts, and guessing games are often helpful for kids of all ages.

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