Eight Practical Tips for Parents of Young Children with Challenging Behavior
Has life with your young child become filled with conflict and confusion? Does it seem as if even the simplest activity can turn quickly into disaster when your child’s behavior is out of control? Are you beginning to feel as if things are getting worse instead of better? You’re not alone. Many, if not most, parents find themselves struggling with the challenging behavior of their young child at some point in time. The good news is that there are evidence-based, effective strategies that you can use to create positive solutions for your family.
How to Use This List
Review each of the tips below and think about situations you have experienced that are similar to the provided examples. You will need to decide which strategies are likely to work best for your family. You might want to try one or two of the strategies at first and then add others as you become more comfortable with the process. Remember, the idea is to develop specific approaches for your own family that can be used in everyday life.
Tip #1: Keep Your Expectations Realistic
It is important for you to know and understand your child’s abilities and limitations. When you expect too much or too little from your child it can lead to problems and frustrations for you both. ~You are in a restaurant with a group of friends. The waiter took your order over 30 minutes ago and your food still hasn’t arrived. 2 ½ year-old Simone is getting impatient—she is throwing her crayons and saying that she wants down. Instead of getting angry and frustrated with her for acting up, try taking her for a short walk to give her and others a needed break.~
Tip #2: Plan Ahead
Try to anticipate what your child may do or need in various situations. Make sure that you plan ahead to set your child up for a successful experience. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Always have a back-up plan! ~Your family is in the car headed to your mother’s house for dinner. It is usually a short drive, but rush-hour traffic is snarled, it’s 6:30 pm, and you’re already 45 minutes late. Your 3 year-old is screaming for food in the backseat. Luckily, you remembered to bring some snacks and a sippy cup of water to hold him over until you can make it home~
Reprinted with the permission of the Council for Exceptional Children. © 2006-2007 Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). All rights reserved.
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