How to Change Bad Child Behavior

image001Did you know that children are not supposed to be irrational? It’s important to understand that all their reactions have a reason and their misbehavior as we perceive it is as a result of something that they are trying to accomplish. Most parents fail to understand how a child reasons, especially when the young one is under stress. Often, parents resort to yelling at their children in frustration or anger, but rarely do they expect a response from their reaction. However, it is important that you try and understand why your child behaves the way he does. After that, you should take the following measures to change bad child behavior. 

7 Things to Do to Change Bad Child Behavior

General Rules

Children continue with a certain behavior when they see it rewarded and stop when ignored. Consistency is key when you want to change your child’s bad behavior. You cannot punish yet reward a certain behavior, as this only leads to confusion. Likewise, introduce a new behavior that you would like to see your child acquire and reinforce it with rewards. Ignoring misbehavior is a good technique to work with, but this method requires patience. There are various ways to change bad child behavior, these are:

1. Be Clear About the Rules

Make a list of important rules and go over them with your child. Power struggles with your young one should be avoided as these lead to no-win scenarios and some extremes. Common sense always wins and it is important to remain consistent with punishments and rewards. For example, you can make it clear to your child that it is unacceptable to watch TV after 9 P.M. or that he/ she cannot take money without asking.

2. Be Consistent

The need for consistency cannot be overemphasized when implementing the measures to change bad child behavior. The biggest mistake most parents make is failing to have a consistent technique of rewarding or punishing a child. Many parents will have reactions for one habit and fail to react to a similar habit, sending mixed signals on what is right and wrong. Consistency is key all the time and this means not making excuses for your child such as saying he’s tired or he was provoked. Never give a child an excuse for bad behavior, as this will lead to a life of excuses and bad choices.

3. Talk to Your Child and Explain

Regardless of your child’s age, you need to talk to them. Explain to your child why their behavior is wrong and how it affects them and others around them. You can explain that their behavior is harmful or hurtful to other children. While this may sound ridiculous, it helps the child to begin comprehending the effects of their behavior at an early age. The more you explain to your child, the more they grow up to understand their mistakes and its effects. You will be amazed at how well kids understand when they are spoken to calmly and consistently.

 4. Reward Desired Behavior

Rewarding your child for good behavior encourages the child. You can come up with a good behavior game which could be in form of a chart and give the child stars when they learn a new behavior. You can also have good and bad marks and reward the child when they have more good than bad marks. You can also create some quiet time for your child and you can scheme this around the time you are making supper. Check on your child often and reward them for staying quiet or behaving nicely. Increase the intervals that you check on your child and give them rewards for good behavior.

5. Try the Time Out Method if Necessary

If you want to stop bad behavior immediately, you could consider using the time-out method. However, you need to decide which behaviors are punishable using time-out. The location of the time-out must be one that is not interesting yet comfortable for the child. This could be in a chair or a corner of the home. You can have a time-out setting even when you are away from home and this could be in a car or nearby seat. Always let the child know that their behavior is unacceptable immediately it occurs and avoid getting angry. If your child still continues to misbehave take him to the time-out area. Keep track of the time-out and you can have a timer that informs the child when time-out is over. You can set time-out minutes to correspond with the age of the child and you must always stay within sight of the child. However, do not initiate communication during time-out. If the child tries to leave early, gently but firmly guide her back to the spot and you could even reset the timer.

6. Do Not Punish Your Kid Physically

Physical punishment may stop the behavior for a while, but it does not teach your child to change. Discipline is all about teaching your child the difference between good and bad behavior and unless your child knows that a behavior is bad, they will repeat it. Physical punishment could lead to aggressive behavior in the child and develop into abuse.

7. Avoid Those Things When Trying to Change Bad Child Behavior

  • Screaming. Do you listen when someone else is screaming at you? Well, don’t expect your kid to listen or understand a thing you say when you are screaming. Screaming is distractive and we naturally do not pay attention when some is screaming at us. If you want your young one to learn from their mistakes, avoid screaming at them.
  • Threatening. Never threaten your child, as this is the same as battering them emotionally. Emotional and mental abuse are real and in fact worse than physical abuse. Some parents chose to use threats that are not only intimidating, but overblown and fully abusive.
  • Comparisons with other kids. No one likes to be compared so we see no reason why you should put your child through comparisons. This damages the child’s psyche and self-esteem as well. In essence, what you are telling the child is that they are not good enough and eventually they begin to feel the same. It’s important to treat your child as a unique individual.

Watch the following video to learn how a mom deals with a child with some undesirable behaviors so that you have a better idea on how to change bad child behavior: