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Category:  Children
: Challenges

Related Links:  | Children:Activities and FunChallenges | School | Parenting | Stories | Babies |

Tips for Coping with Difficult Behavior

by  Lorna Mclaren

If you have a little one who is anywhere between the ages of two and four, some days can seem like they last forty-eight hours or more. If you are the proud mother of a little girl this age, the only word in her vocabulary may be "No." If you try and counter her "no's" with "yes's", she may emit sounds so shrill your ears will start to bleed.

If you are the proud mom of a little boy, his new habits may include coloring the dog with your lipstick or banging your favorite table with his toy trucks and cars until they are scrapped beyond the skills of a French polisher! How do you deal with this? One way of course is to leave the country and never return. There are, however, more reasonable ways in which to deal with your children's testing periods.

While you may not be able to move abroad without your children, you can remove yourself from the situation and help calm your frayed nerves. If your child is being rebellious or misbehaving, sometimes just stepping out of the room for a few moments, counting to ten, and taking some deep, calming breaths can make all the difference when you re-enter the room to deal with your misbehaving child. They may then start to associate your leaving the room with "Uh oh, Mummy is mad" rather than associate your screaming and yelling with being angry, which, deep down we all know will just make matters worse. This may help calm your child enough that when you come back into the room, he or she will be ready to listen as you explain to him what behavior you didn't like. Since you will be calmer as well, the discipline will likely be more effective.

For a more long-term approach, take some time for yourself and grab some "me time". Whether you enjoy a long soak in a warm bath, peace for an hour to read a book or just to potter in the garden make sure you give yourself this gift. Ask your other half, partner, mum or friend to take your little ones for an afternoon at the weekend and treat yourself to your favorite indulgence. Make this a fixed item on your weekly calendar and don't put it off for anything other than the most serious of situations. A tired mum is a grumpy mum, or so my children tell me. You will be refreshed, re-charged and ready to listen to what your toddler has been up to and be prepared for hearing how well behaved they were for the other person, most children are well behaved for others.

Getting involved with groups that highlight child behavior may also help you cope with issues that seem to rear their ugly heads again and again. Your child may be going through a developmental phase that has you frustrated to say the least. It can be comforting to have a support network or group of friends with similarly aged children. Many of these groups are "Mommy and Me" or "Mother and Toddler"-type groups that can be found in your community directory or advertised at your local community centre. If no such local groups exist in your area, you can always consult some educational reading material on child behavior and speak with your doctor if it is getting more and more difficult to control.

Sometimes, just a different approach can give great results. For example, if you are used to taking away a privilege or a toy when your child acts up, perhaps you need another tactic. Calmly tell him or her why Mommy is upset with the actual behavior, and explain and speak as if he were older than his actual age. Your own child may surprise you!

On the flip side, sometimes just not reacting at all can be the best approach. Just like you are getting to know what makes your child tick, he is getting to know what makes you tick as well and will quickly learn how to push your buttons and command your attention. Rather than play into this, ignore his pushy requests and the negative behavior may just quietly go away.

Another reason for difficult behavior can be attention seeking. If you child is feeling that he is not getting enough attention from you then he may act up more often because you always interact with him when he is naughty. The Terrible Twos are challenging, to say the least, but using some of these approaches can help you keep the loving bond between you and your child without you losing your mind in the process.

Go to for more tips on dealing with your child and make the most out of those early years.


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Category:  Children: Challenges

Related Links:  | Children:Activities and FunChallenges | School | Parenting | Stories | Babies |

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