Handling Children’s Behaviour

This was a 13 week course so obviously I am not going to be able to put the whole course content on my site but I would like to give you a “taster” . . .
When we become a parent, many people assume that you will automatically know and understand everything about children and their behaviour. Sadly, this is far from the truth, most of us suffer anxiety and feel inadequate when our child starts to “behave badly”. When our child throws a tantrum in the supermarket, we get embarrassed about the other shoppers staring at us – we feel that we are failing as a parent and often panic.
In our group we discussed what behaviours our children displayed that we wanted to change, these are just a few:-
answering back, defiance, asking dad when mum has already said “no”, stubbornness, not eating properly, breaking toys, tantrums, “I want that . . .” when shopping, showing off, being rude, lying, swearing, not sharing, fighting with siblings . . . the list can be endless.
There are ways of controlling this so please read on  . . . . .
Types of Behaviour
Very often when our children are playing up, we find that we deal with all unacceptable behaviour with the same level of anger because we feel that they are doing it all to annoy us on purpose. The following are areas of behaviour that all children present at some stage:-
Childish Irresponsibilities
Believe it or not children aren’t small adults, they don’t do everything on purpose – spilling drinks, dirtying clean clothes, forgetting what they have been told are just a few examples of things that can just happen by mistake. How many times have you sat at the dinner table with your child and just as they cut into their chicken nuggets, the knife slips and food shoots off the plate in all directions – depending on your mood you will either laugh or shout at the child, they didn’t do this on purpose so do they deserve that? In Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts pinged her “snail” at the waiter, it was an accident – you didn’t see Richard Gere shouting at her did you! Just stop and think for a minute about the silly things you have done as an adult? Have you accidentally broken a glass, or put the kettle in the fridge? I know I have but when its our children for some reason we expect more?
Behaviour Linked With Development
Be aware of what your child’s capabilities are and don’t expect too much too soon. Sometimes your child isn’t deliberately walking slowly, they only have little legs which can tire more quickly than yours. Remember for every one of your steps they probably have to take 2 or 3! Perhaps you have left an older sibling to look after younger ones but when you return home, full scale war has broken out – have you considered that the older child may not have developed the skills yet to handle younger children? The younger ones may have played up on purpose to get the older child into trouble? We can’t always get it right and we are adults!! 
We can also fall into the trap of comparing our children with others, but all children develop at different speeds – so bear this in mind.
Challenge To Parents’ Authority
Obviously this is the most serious of our child’s behaviour – defiance and stubbornness being the worst! In this situation the child is very aware of what they are doing and at some time we will all experience this from our children – I am already getting this from my daughter at 13 months! What your child needs to know is that this is not acceptable behaviour, you need to take on this challenge and win or else learn to regret it for the remainder of our child-rearing years. A child needs and wants us to control them, to show them the boundaries. Without control they will feel insecure, be afraid of their own power and crash around out of control. There is no need to smack, hit or beat your child as that will not teach them the right message – they will just think that violence is the way forward. You need to teach them calm but firm methods of discipline and lots of positive praise. 
At this point I would like to say that prior to attending the parenting courses both myself and Hubby were of the opinion that “a tap to the back of the legs” never did us any harm and did so with our Son. I admitted this at the classes and was not “judged” but the course has taught us new ways of discipline and we haven’t had the need to “smack” for over 6 months now and we feel better for this. I used to think that “positive praise” and “incentive charts” were a load of nonsense but when implemented properly they really do work, give it a go what’s to lose?


  • 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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