A child’s behaviour changes as they grow up. Your child who was once well-behaved and disciplined at two years might give you sass or misbehave when they touch the six year mark.
The best way to learn how to handle a misbehaving child is to understand what they are going through developmentally. This is where discipline comes into play; one that does not involve yelling or spanking, but helps them differentiate between the right and wrong.
But it is not as easy as it sounds. Just as one Redditor mum found out.
Unable to handle her misbehaving child who completely ignores her, this mum turned to the Internet to look for possible solutions.
How To Handle Misbehaving Child?
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In her post, the mum shared that her daughter is “kind,” “funny,” “clever,” and is “mostly well behaved.”
However, on one particular night, even after asking her daughter repeatedly to brush her teeth, the latter kept ignoring her. “She was looking into my eyes and she just turned away,” said the mum who added that this behaviour led her to lose her cool.
“I didn’t get physically rough – but I equally wasn’t gentle in fishing her out of the bath and getting her in pyjamas either,” added the agitated mum.
This left her “feeling awful” as she wondered whether she was too rough and mean to her own daughter. At the same time, she admits that she couldn’t control her internal rage when her daughter misbehaved with her.
She asked other parents to drop in their suggestions to help her deal with this situation.
Like always, several mums came to her rescue, but one suggestion towered over others.
“Follow through without showing your frustration”
A user shared a trick that worked for her.
She suggested that after the first ask, the mum should casually and calmly start talking about what they will miss out on. For instance, “Brush your teeth or I don’t think we can have time for books before bedtime.”
She shared that the key to this is to follow through a few times without showing frustration. Like, “I know you’re disappointed we didn’t have time for books. I’m disappointed too,” said the user.
Another mum who also tried this method on her kid shared that each time her kid misbehaved, she’d say, “Okay, either you can do it or I will. Which would you like?”
Another user chimed in to share that parents must reconsider their expectations.
“Instead of thinking kids should obey and listen, think how to ask your kid to cooperate. Take extra time to get down on their level, make eye contact, and have them repeat back what you said,” she said.
The query and the responses it got was a clear indication that this mum wasn’t alone. Many parents were and are in the same boat and often struggle to understand how to handle a misbehaving child.
But as many suggested, there are ways to handle a misbehaving child that does not involve yelling or corporal punishment. Here are few expert-recommended ways.
How To Handle Misbehaving Child: Top 5 Expert Tips
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When you are on the phone or occupied with work, your kids might feel left out. That is when you will notice them throwing a tantrum, winning, or even hitting a sibling. It is their way of attracting your attention towards them.
Tip: The best way to handle such a situation is to sit them down and help them understand they are wrong. Also, don’t forget to praise their positive behaviour.
Sometimes a child’s behavioural issue stem from a lack of skill. For instance, if your child’s verbal skills or social skills aren’t as competent they may resort to violence to express themselves. Or, you may find your child ignoring your repeated instructions to do their chores. It is not that do not want to help out, it may be a simple case of not understanding the instructions.
Tip: The best way to deal with the situation is to show them how you want to behave or work their way through their tasks. Young minds work faster when they have a visual aid for reference.
If your kids are misbehaving, maybe it is time to monitor few things in their surroundings. Remember, kids learn to behave by watching others. When they have seen someone on TV or watch their friends misbehaving without consequence, they will repeat what they see.
Tip: Make sure your child is not exposed to aggressive behaviour on television or in video games, and even in real life. Model behaviour that you would like to see in your child.
To exert their independence
As preschoolers learn new things and more importantly on their own, they often want to show it off. As a result, they may misbehave and become argumentative. So it is important to stay cool and be patient. Understand, that it is a part of growing up.
Tips: You can ask your child or preschooler for their suggestion. Try to set clear and consistent rules that your kids can easily follow and make sure they are age-appropriate and are easy to follow.
When your child is bored and/or tired, misbehaviour often ensues. So, most toddlers and preschoolers are not good at communicating what they need. This may result in them using bad behaviour to show that their needs are not met.
Tips: Be on the look out for unmet needs. Spend time with your child to understand what it that they need and aren’t getting and have an open and honest conversation.
When To Consult A Specialist
Sometimes your child may be misbehaving due to an underlying mental health
issue. Kids with ADHD
for instance, have trouble following instructions and also often behave impulsively. Their underlying anxiety or depression can also lead to behavioural issues
If you suspect your child’s misbehaviour is due to a mental health issue, immediately consult a specialist. A timely diagnosis can help your child get better at managing their emotions and expression.
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Is Your Child Just Disobedient or Could She Actually Have a Mental Disorder?