Handling Childrens Behaviour

Becoming a parent is a remarkable journey, but it doesn’t come with a manual. Many parents feel anxious and inadequate when faced with challenging childrens behaviour. It’s essential to recognize that understanding and managing children’s behaviour is a learning process. In this brief overview, we’ll touch upon key insights from a comprehensive 13-week parenting course I attended on childrens behaviour.

Understanding Different Behaviours

Handling Childrens Behaviour 1

Children exhibit a wide range of behaviours, and it’s crucial to distinguish between them to respond effectively. Here are some common behaviours parents may want to address:

Answering Back and Defiance

As parents or caregivers, it is essential to approach these situations with patience, understanding, and effective communication strategies. Instead of responding reactively or resorting to punishment, teaching children alternative ways to express their emotions and thoughts is crucial.

One approach that can be highly effective is encouraging open dialogue. Creating a safe space where children feel comfortable expressing themselves without fear of judgment or consequences makes them more likely to communicate their feelings rather than resorting to answering back or defiance. Furthermore, actively listening without interrupting allows them to articulate their perspective fully.

Sibling Rivalry and Fighting

It is natural for siblings to argue and fight as they compete for attention, toys, and parental approval. However, parents must address this issue effectively to promote a positive and harmonious environment at home.

One approach to handling sibling rivalry is through fostering empathy and understanding. By encouraging open communication between siblings, parents can help them develop skills in conflict resolution and emotional regulation. This could involve teaching them how to express their feelings without resorting to physical aggression or hurtful language.

Furthermore, parents mustn’t take sides when conflicts arise between siblings. Instead of favouring one child over the other, parents should encourage cooperative problem-solving techniques that allow both parties involved to devise mutually satisfying solutions. This helps children understand the importance of compromise and empathy towards each other’s needs.

Addressing sibling rivalry and fighting requires a proactive approach from parents that focuses on building strong relationships among siblings based on empathy, communication, and problem-solving skills. By doing so, parents can create an atmosphere where children feel heard and understood while learning how to navigate conflicts respectfully – a valuable lesson that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Tantrums and Emotional Outbursts

As parents, we naturally feel frustrated and overwhelmed in the face of these challenging moments. However, what if we were to shift our perspective and see tantrums as opportunities for growth? By viewing them as a means of communication rather than acts of defiance, we can better understand our children’s needs and guide them towards more appropriate ways of expressing themselves.

To effectively handle tantrums, it is crucial to remain calm. By reacting with anger or impatience, we only escalate the situation further. Instead, let’s try taking deep breaths and adopting a calm tone when addressing our children. This not only models healthy emotional regulation but also helps create an atmosphere where problem-solving can take place.

Furthermore, providing choices can be a powerful tool in managing behaviour. Instead of imposing our control over every aspect of their lives, allowing children to make decisions within boundaries empowers them and reduces the likelihood of power struggles. For instance, instead of commanding your child to put away their toys immediately after playtime, try asking them whether they would like to do it now or in five minutes – giving them some perceived control over the situation without sacrificing your authority as a parent.

Remember that each child is unique and may require different strategies for handling their behaviour. We can navigate through patience, empathy, and creative problem-solving approaches tailored specifically for our little ones’ personalities.


Dealing with a stubborn child’s behaviour can be challenging for any parent or caregiver. Stubbornness is often seen as a negative trait, but it is essential to remember that children naturally explore their individuality and independence. One way to address this behaviour is by promoting autonomy within certain boundaries. By allowing the child some control over their choices, such as what clothes they wear or which toy they play with, you encourage them to feel empowered without compromising your authority.

Another critical aspect of handling stubbornness in children is open communication. Instead of imposing your decisions upon them, take the time to explain why specific rules or actions are necessary. This approach helps children understand the reasoning behind your requests and promotes trust between both parties. Additionally, offering alternatives can help defuse defiant behaviour; giving children options allows them to feel like their opinion matters while still adhering to necessary guidelines.

Remember that stubbornness is not always an obstacle but rather an opportunity for growth and development in your child. Taking a patient and understanding approach allows you to guide and mould their behaviour positively while fostering their sense of self-worth and independence. By recognizing the importance of autonomy within boundaries, open communication, and offering alternatives when possible, you will be better equipped to handle these challenging situations effectively.

Lying and Swearing

When a child lies or swears, it’s crucial not to overreact or jump to conclusions. Instead, take the time to listen and understand why they may be behaving this way.

One fresh perspective is recognizing that lying and swearing are often signs of unmet emotional needs. Children may lie to avoid consequences or seek attention, while swearing might be an outlet for frustration or a desire for power. Rather than solely focusing on punishing these behaviours, consider addressing the underlying emotions behind them. Teach your child healthier ways of expressing themselves by encouraging open communication and providing alternative methods for venting their frustrations.

Furthermore, setting clear expectations and boundaries is key when handling lying and swearing. Explain why these behaviours are unacceptable without being judgmental or critical towards your child. Instead of resorting to punishment if they engage in such acts again, offer guidance on more appropriate communication or problem-solving techniques. Doing so, you prioritize their growth as individuals while reinforcing the importance of respectful language and honesty in your family dynamic.

Not Eating Properly

Mealtime can often be a battleground regarding children and their eating habits. One of parents’ most common struggles is dealing with a child who refuses to eat properly. Instead of engaging in power struggles or resorting to bribery, it might be worth considering a different approach. Rather than forcing the issue, try involving your child in the meal preparation process. Giving them responsibility and choice can empower them to become more willing mealtime participants. Encourage them to select meal ingredients or assist with simple tasks like stirring or pouring. You may find that their behaviour improves naturally by giving them a sense of ownership over what they eat.

Another effective strategy for handling children’s behaviour around food is creating a positive mealtime environment without pressure or criticism. It’s important not to place unrealistic expectations on your child’s eating habits or negatively comment on their choices. Instead, focus on providing nutritious options and modelling healthy eating behaviours yourself. Avoid distractions such as television or electronic devices during meals and encourage conversation where everyone can share stories from their day. By fostering a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, you may find that your child becomes more open to trying new foods and developing healthier eating patterns.

Dealing with children’s challenging behaviour during mealtimes requires patience, creativity, and parental flexibility. By involving children in meal preparation and creating positive dining experiences, we can encourage healthier attitudes towards food while minimizing conflicts at the table.

Breaking Toys

Instead of getting angry or frustrated, it is essential to remember that this behaviour is often just a way for children to express their emotions or explore cause and effect. By redirecting their attention towards more appropriate outlets, such as art activities or building blocks, parents can encourage positive ways for them to channel their energy.

It is also crucial not to focus solely on punishment for breaking toys. Instead, use these situations as teaching moments where the child learns about responsibility and consequences. Encourage them to reflect on how their actions affect others and help them understand the value of taking care of possessions. This mindset shift from punishment-based reactions to compassionate guidance can foster long-lasting changes in the child’s attitude towards handling toys carefully.

Additionally, parents should create an environment that nurtures creativity rather than restricts it. By incorporating open-ended play materials like clay or playdough alongside sturdy toys, children can freely express themselves without feeling the need to break anything out of boredom or frustration. Providing plenty of options for imaginative play can engage their minds and steer them away from destructive behaviours.

Types of Behaviour

Types of child behaviour

Childish Irresponsibilities

Childish irresponsibilities are a common type of behaviour that can be observed in children and adults. These behaviours often stem from a lack of maturity and an inability to take responsibility for one’s actions. These behaviours can be frustrating, from throwing tantrums and refusing to do chores to constantly seeking attention and blaming others for their mistakes.

However, it is essential to understand that childish irresponsibilities are not always intentional or malicious. Sometimes, individuals may simply struggle with managing their emotions or have difficulty understanding the consequences of their actions. In such cases, patience and guidance become crucial in helping them develop more mature behaviours.

It is worth noting that everyone displays different types of behaviour at different stages of life. While some may outgrow their childish irresponsibilities with time and experience, others may display immature behaviours well into adulthood. The key lies in recognizing these patterns and finding ways to address them with empathy and understanding, fostering personal growth and development.

Behaviour Linked With Development

From infancy to adulthood, we witness various behaviours that shape our personalities and influence our interactions with others. While some behaviours may be genetically determined, such as temperament, external factors like socialization and culture play a significant role in shaping our behaviours.

One type of behaviour commonly observed in children is imitation. Young minds are like sponges, absorbing everything around them and imitating the actions they see. This type of learning helps children acquire new skills and develop their ways of doing things. However, it’s important to note that not all imitative behaviours are beneficial; children can also pick up undesirable habits or adopt negative attitudes through imitation.

Another interesting type of behaviour is risk-taking. During adolescence, individuals often engage in risky behaviours as part of their quest for identity formation and independence. These behaviours can range from experimenting with drugs or engaging in daredevil activities to challenging authority figures or taking emotional risks in relationships. While risk-taking can have negative consequences, it is also essential to self-discovery and personal growth.

Understanding different types of behaviour provides valuable insights into how we function as individuals and within a society. It highlights the intricate interplay between nature and nurture influences on our actions while shedding light on the complexities associated with human development.

Challenge to Parents’ Authority

One of the most common types of behaviour that can challenge parents’ authority is rebellious behaviour. This can manifest in various forms, such as talking back, refusing to follow rules, or engaging in activities against parental guidelines. It stems from the natural inclination of adolescents to assert their independence and test boundaries. While it may be frustrating for parents, it is essential to recognize that this behaviour is a normal part of development and an opportunity for growth.

Another type of challenging behaviour that parents often encounter is manipulative behaviour. Manipulation can be subtle or overt and includes tactics such as guilt-tripping, emotional blackmail, or playing one parent against another. Children and teenagers may use these tactics to get what they want or avoid consequences. Recognizing manipulative behaviours requires careful observation and clear communication with children about healthy ways to express needs and desires without manipulation.

In dealing with these challenging behaviours, parents must balance setting boundaries while fostering open communication and trust with their children. Understanding the underlying motivations behind rebellious or manipulative behaviours allows parents to address them more effectively by focusing on teaching appropriate alternatives rather than simply imposing punishments. Effective strategies include active listening, positive reinforcement for desired behaviours, modelling respectful communication patterns, and consistently enforcing consequences for negative actions.

Remember that every child is unique in their behavioural tendencies; what works for one may not work for another when addressing challenges to parental authority. By staying patient and adaptable while maintaining clear expectations and open

Positive Discipline

positive discipline

Avoid physical punishment like smacking or hitting, as it sends the wrong message about violence. Instead, employ these positive discipline strategies:

Clear Boundaries

Positive discipline is about setting clear boundaries for our children’s behaviour without resorting to punishment or harsh discipline methods. It’s about teaching them right from wrong in a way that fosters self-control and responsibility. When we establish firm yet fair boundaries, we provide our children with a framework within which they can learn and grow.

Clear boundaries help children understand what is acceptable and what isn’t, giving them the guidance they need to make better choices. By setting these boundaries, we communicate our expectations clearly and consistently. This creates a sense of structure and predictability for children, which can ultimately lead to improved behaviour. When children know where the line is drawn, they are likelier to stay on the right side.

Positive discipline also encourages open communication between parents and children. Positive discipline addresses issues through calm discussions and problem-solving techniques rather than resorting to punishment as the primary means of controlling behaviour. This approach helps build trust between parents and children, as it allows for understanding each other’s perspectives.

Parents can create supportive environments that foster healthy development in their children’s behaviour by using clear boundaries in positive discipline strategies. Through effective communication and understanding of expectations early on, both parents and their kids will be able to navigate challenges together while building stronger relationships based on trust and respect. Ultimately, positive discipline empowers families by promoting cooperation rather than fear or control.


Consistency is the key to positive discipline regarding children’s behaviour. Establishing clear expectations and consistently enforcing them provides a sense of structure and stability that helps children thrive. This means setting consistent rules and consequences and being consistent in our behaviour as parents or caregivers. When children can rely on us to follow through on what we say, they learn the importance of accountability and responsibility.

However, consistency doesn’t mean rigidity or inflexibility. It’s important to remember that every child is unique and may respond differently to various disciplinary strategies. Positive discipline also emphasizes the need for flexibility to meet individual needs and adjust our approaches accordingly. This includes considering age, temperament, and developmental stage when implementing discipline techniques.

Positive discipline fosters a solid parent-child relationship based on trust and respect. It encourages open communication, active listening, and problem-solving together rather than resorting to punishment or authoritarian control. By positively approaching discipline, we teach children valuable life skills such as self-regulation, empathy towards others’ perspectives, and effective conflict resolution – all qualities that will serve them well into adulthood.

Calm Communication

Positive discipline is a powerful tool for shaping children’s behavior, and one key aspect of this approach is calm communication. By adopting an attitude of peace and tranquillity in our interactions with children, we create an environment where they feel safe to express themselves and learn from their mistakes. When we remain calm, we model self-control and emotional regulation, teaching children valuable skills to serve them throughout their lives.

Calm communication involves listening attentively to our child’s point of view before responding. Rather than reacting impulsively or dismissing their feelings, we strive to understand the underlying emotions behind their actions. By doing so, we validate their experiences and demonstrate empathy, strengthening the parent-child bond. Maintaining a composed demeanour in moments of conflict or frustration also enables us to think more clearly and problem-solve effectively with our child.

Through calm communication, we can teach children that it is possible to find resolutions without resorting to anger or aggression. We show them how important it is to respect others’ perspectives and explore creative solutions that meet everyone’s needs. By practising positive discipline grounded in calm communication, parents promote healthier behaviour in their children and foster the development of essential life skills like effective communication and emotional intelligence – skills that will empower them well beyond childhood.


Time-outs have long been a popular method for disciplining children’s behaviour, but new insights into positive discipline are challenging the effectiveness of this approach. While time-outs can temporarily stop negative behaviour, they often fail to address the underlying causes that lead to misbehaviour in the first place. Instead of isolating children and simply giving them a break from their actions, positive discipline aims to teach children essential life skills such as empathy, problem-solving, and self-regulation.

By shifting our focus from punishment to understanding, positive discipline creates growth and learning opportunities. Rather than sending a child into isolation during a time-out, parents can engage them in conversation to help identify what triggered their actions and brainstorm alternative solutions. This helps build trust between parent and child and cultivates essential social-emotional skills that will serve the child throughout their lives.

Changing our perspective on discipline means recognizing that it is more than just correcting misbehaviour; it is about guiding children towards self-control and fostering healthy relationships built on respect and empathy. Parents can encourage open communication with their children by adopting a positive discipline approach, teaching them valuable lessons about responsibility instead of resorting to punitive measures like time-outs.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive discipline is a powerful approach that fosters healthy and well-rounded development in children. One of its core principles is using positive reinforcement, which focuses on praising and rewarding good behaviour rather than punishing negative behaviour. By highlighting the positive actions of children, we can empower them to make better choices because they want to, not because they fear consequences.

However, positive reinforcement goes beyond celebrating achievements or good behaviour; it promotes intrinsic motivation. By providing specific and sincere praise about a child’s effort or progress, we help cultivate their self-esteem and confidence. This way, children are more likely to develop a genuine desire to behave positively rather than seeking external rewards or avoiding punishment. Plus, we encourage children to appreciate their growth and learning journey by emphasising the process rather than just the outcome.

Another fascinating aspect of positive discipline that should be explored is how it teaches problem-solving skills. Instead of dictating rules and expecting obedience without question, this approach encourages open communication and cooperation with children when facing challenges or conflicts. By involving them in finding solutions and discussing alternatives, they learn essential life skills such as empathy, active listening, negotiation, and compromise while experiencing their value as contributing members of a family or community.

Model Behaviour

Positive discipline is not just about correcting negative behaviour but also about modelling positive behaviour. Children are like sponges, absorbing everything they see and hear. By consistently demonstrating respectful and kind behaviour, parents become powerful role models for their children.

Children learn from observing how others behave in various situations, so we must model the behaviours we want them to adopt. If we wish our children to be patient, understanding, and compassionate, we must embody these qualities. Additionally, by showing them how to handle conflicts calmly and respectfully, we teach them invaluable life skills that will serve them well as they grow older.

Modelling exemplary behaviour isn’t always easy; however, it can significantly shape our children’s attitudes and actions. When they witness us managing our emotions effectively or speaking politely, even during challenging situations, they will internalize these behaviours as the norm – ultimately guiding their own conduct. Remember that positive discipline begins with our example; it holds immense power in positively influencing our child’s character development.


Parenting is a lifelong learning process, and it’s natural to encounter challenges along the way. Understanding your child’s behaviour, setting appropriate boundaries, and using positive discipline techniques can help you navigate these challenges effectively. Remember that every child is unique, and tailoring your approach to their needs and developmental stage is essential. Embrace the journey of parenthood, and always seek support and resources when needed.


  • Joan

    December 12 at 5:05 pm

    It is true that positive praise works wonders, and we as parents need to remember to do it.

  • Phyllis Ellett

    March 22 at 12:39 pm

    Great post. I have three hats on here, a mum, a grandmother and a special needs 1 to 1 teaching assistant (now retired after 19 years). With all those hats on and after all those years, I still have no answer. My advice is to take each ‘problem’ as a separate ‘problem’ and deal with it in that context. If you a new mum, take all the advice you can get from your elders and betters, but treat that advice with your own ‘pinch of salt’ You will make mistakes and you learn from them. There are loads of ideas out there and they all work in full or part in their own way. Each of my children, my grandchild and the children in my care had the basic same behaviour problems but in each case the ‘solution’ ended up different.
    Still now the first thing I do is bite your lip, take ten seconds to think and go with your first solution, that might not be the solution that works, but you got a start.

    1. IamMummyMatters

      March 27 at 9:32 pm

      Thank you for a great comment, you really do have to take each child and assess what works for them don’t you. What works with one doesn’t work for another but yes biting the lip is a very good one and I generally try to trust my instincts 🙂

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