After you have made the decision to become a parent, things will change. They may change even before your baby gets here – if you are waiting on the arrival of a little one, it’s normal for some sleep deprivation to occur. Once your child is born, however, things can be more hectic than ever expected.
All of a sudden you are responsible for another human being and they will depend on you more than anything in their lives.
But along with this wonderful blessing comes many challenges that are not as easy as simply feeding or changing them.
Often times children go through phases where they are acting out or “misbehaving”. While there may be an explanation behind some cases of bad behavior, most parents end up wondering what could’ve caused their child to act this way.
When your children are driving you crazy, it is important that you stay calm and rational. You do not need to raise your voice or punish them for their actions if they have a legit reason. Sometimes what may seem like misbehavior is just a cry for attention from your child – they haven’t been prepared on how to express what they need appropriately in the past.
When children feel neglected in any way, their behavior can take a turn for the worst. Here are some ways in which parents can stay level-headed when dealing with difficult children:
1. Ask Why?
Children who know how to properly communicate usually talk about themselves before expressing why you might be upset with them. However, parents should never immediately assume that this is the case.
When children are driving their parents up the wall, it’s never a bad idea to ask them why they did what you asked them not to do. This shows that you care and you want your child to understand the importance of following certain rules.
2. Give Instructions
Those who go through phases where they don’t listen tend to find calm and patience in giving instructions. They may be acting out or testing boundaries by doing something they aren’t supposed to be doing, but there needs to be consistency when this happens.
While punishment may be necessary if things like safety come into play, other times kids should simply know what not to do again instead of being disciplined.
3. Discuss privileges
Parents need to be careful when it comes to taking away privileges. They should only do this if they are absolutely necessary, but are usually displeased with their child’s behavior. Some parents don’t even realize that they are taking things away from their children that will affect them for the rest of the day or week – especially after a certain time frame.
This can cause unnecessary stress and frustration for everyone involved, so be conscious before making any rash decisions about removing something you know your child loves dearly.
4. Recognize Feelings
Some misbehavior is caused by an overload of emotions in younger children who may not have words to express what exactly they are feeling inside. Parents need to understand that sometimes kids cry because they feel overwhelmed, lonely or afraid instead of being defiant and bad-tempered.
If your child is acting out at the time, ask them what’s bothering them and how you can help. This will let them know that you are aware of their feelings and it will provide them with a sense of relief, which should eventually lead to better behavior.
5. Improve Communication
Some children have trouble staying calm during times when they are upset because they have no idea how to communicate their emotions other than through words or displays of anger. Parents need to improve communication with their kids over time by teaching emotional vocabulary.
There are many ways in which parents can do this – reading books that teach about feelings is one way. Another favorite tactic for parents is using puppets as a tool for teaching about different emotions, especially the bad ones because kids tend to react positively to this.
6. Give Space and Time Out
When all else fails, parents should simply give their children space and time out when they start having a meltdown. This is especially important for younger children who can’t yet understand how their words or behavior affect the feelings of others. It’s better for both parties if you give them space instead of forcing them to be in your presence when they are acting up.
You don’t want it to seem like punishment by completely ignoring them, but there is nothing wrong with asking them to take some time alone while you calm down too.
By finding ways to remain calm, you will ultimately help improve your child’s behavior for the future – plus it helps build trust in the relationship.
7. Avoid Gossiping About the Child in Front of Them
If your child overhears you talking about how frustrated you are with their behavior, they are going to have a harder time remaining calm when they are having trouble following rules or listening.
Parents often gossip about children in front of them to vent or simply because they feel that it’s something that needs to be revealed to others in order for people to understand their frustration. This is wrong – instead, parents should talk directly with the child without involving too many bystanders who may not have anything helpful to say.
As you can see, staying calm is very helpful when it comes to dealing with kids who are constantly misbehaving. By using the tactics I mentioned above and others that will come to you as time progresses, you should be able to handle things much easier and reduce stress during these difficult moments. Do not make rash decisions like spanking or yelling because this will only lead to more outbursts from your child.
Instead, try showing them what not to do again by being patient and loving during times of frustration rather than immediately punishing them for their bad behavior – this way they will learn from their mistakes without feeling as negatively about themselves in the future!