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How to cope with a preschooler with a behavioral problem?

There is no manual given to parents on how to raise children. Raising children is a difficult task, but we prepare ourselves the best we can. As parents mentally prepare ourselves for the behaviors that pre-teens, adolescents, and even young adults bring. We think about the mood swings, back talk, emotional outbursts, and attitudes. Parents would never imagine an early learner to behave that way. We would never imagine a small child behaving in such an outrageous manner. What would you say if I said, “It all starts when they are young.” When it comes to differentiating between normal and abnormal behavior problems, it’s important to know a bit about child development. What’s normal for a preschooler, isn’t normal for a teenager. Early learners exhibit these behaviors earlier during their preschool years. The key to correcting these behaviors is to start early. Those same behaviors cause influxes in academic progress. Children with behavioral issues tend to have harder time with their academic/studies. 

If you have noticed your child becoming a slight bit more emotional or aggressive at home or in school, this is a sign there is a problem. Children whom have behavioral issues tend not to follow rules, directions or expectations. Redirecting them will take more time than most. You will see that they seem to turn to aggression when not satisfied by an outcome. Depending on the age, they maybe more negative in their vocabulary. They many ignore and dismiss requests by others. Children exhibit behaviors that they don’t understand with anger. This is why it is vital to tackle these behaviors early. If redirection and correction are not enforced effectively the behaviors may evolve into more complex ones. These are more difficult to correct and may even require additional help and services.  

For parents at their wits end, behavioral therapy techniques can provide a roadmap to calmer, more consistent ways to manage problem behaviors problems and offers a chance to help children develop gain the developmental skills they need to regulate their own behaviors. 

According to Kids Health, behavior problems in children often stem from frustration or anger that children cannot resolve on their own. Behavior problems can be solved with patience and understanding as it takes time for children to learn how to deal with situations that lead to bad behavior. There are many activities that parents can use to motivate children to think about their bad behavior and choose alternate ways of dealing with situations that cause such behavior. Misbehavior that interferes with your child’s education may indicate an underlying behavior disorder. Getting sent out of class, getting into fights at recess, and difficulty staying on task are all potential warning signs. An example of poorly defined behavior is “acting up,” or “being good.” A well-defined behavior would be running around the room (bad) or starting homework on time (good).  

At the first sign of abnormal behavior there are a few things you can do. Begin with understanding what your child’s needs. Examine their physical needs and their emotional needs. Venting anger is an important way to help children learn more effective ways to work through their anger, instead of turning to aggression. Parents and family members can help children with creating physically safe ways to get their anger out. Physical activities like gymnastics, exercise, dancing, or sports are all physical activities that can help deter bad behavior.  Health professionals recommend to schedule time to be active for both children and family as a way of helping with ongoing bad behavior. Sports like karate, wrestling and even track are excellent activities to burn off energy and keep stress down.  

When you meet these needs in positive ways you are redirecting the negative behavior. This prevents future occurrences from happening. Begin to focus on the four basic triggers of negativity. These triggers: Freedom, Fun/Excitement, Acceptance, & Empowerment. A trigger is a thought about a situation that leads to an inappropriate response to that situation. A child having behavioral problems within these triggers has strong feelings about one or more of them.

   Giving your child positive reinforcement for being good helps maintain the ongoing good behavior. Positive attention enhances the quality of the relationship, improves self-esteem, and feels good for everyone involved. Positive attention to brave behavior can also help attenuate anxiety, and help kids become more receptive to instructions and limit-setting. 

A great way to prevent behavior problems is to strategize ways with your child’s teachers. Just having to sit still during class is a big challenge for some children. The teacher may be open to letting your child move around or do other activities. Teachers can set up conferences that include you, your child, and an advocate. Collectively you can create a plan about how to make school go well for your child. Such plans are called behavioral plans enforced by the teacher and the school. 

In conclusion, parents must maintain a clear and healthy communication with their children. Behavioral problems/issues can be managed and controlled. Establish a level of consequences and awards. Please do not confuse consequences with punishment. Not all consequences are created equal. Some are an excellent way to create structure and help kids understand the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, while others have the potential to do more harm than good. As a parent, one can consistently use consequences, that will make all the difference. 

 

 

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