Behavioral Issues in Children

Handling Physical Behavioral Issues in Children

By Chris Thompson

Kids are naturally rowdy, but physical behavioral issues in children need to be dealt with. They like playing around, and maybe jumping and accidentally hitting other kids while playing. An occasional tantrum is also normal, but what’s not normal is when they throw things or hurt other kids without any reason.

As parents, it’s very normal for us to be concerned when we see our kids acting in such a way. Ignoring the problem may be the biggest mistake that you can make, but so can be reprimanding your child for it. Let me explain.

Often, yelling at the child or spanking him for hitting other kids will send a mix message. You are teaching him not to hit through hitting? How confusing can that be? And if you’re simply yelling instead of hitting you are simply using another form of anger to teach your child that his anger is not OK. It won’t be very effective.

So, how exactly should we handle behavioral issues in children? Here are easy steps to guide parents.

Kids who behave badly are usually craving for the parent’s attention. You may think you are already giving your child enough attention, but is he thinking the same? Sometimes, spending time with your child whenever you’re vacant is not enough. We have to make sure that we are there especially when they need us, such as listening to them when they’re wondering why the sky is blue. If you are mentally absent even when you are physically present, your child WILL notice. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way myself.

Make a connection with your child. When you see him misbehaving, sit with your child and make a connection. Using very simple words, ask him why he did what he did (such as hit other kids). Remember to be calm, and don’t yell or show that you’re angry. Use a calm approach to get the child’s trust.

It may take some time to get the child to talk, but patience is the key. Once he expresses how he feels, let him talk his heart out. Just listen until he’s done (it shouldn’t be that long).

Never argue with the child’s emotions. Feelings are real, and you won’t get anywhere by trying to deny that they are 100% genuine. Let him express themfreely, and never judge. Sure, you need to make corrections to establish right from wrong, but do it in such a way that you are identifying and acknowledging his emotions.

Say something like, “I know you’re upset, but it’s never okay to hit other kids.” You can then reinforce why it is not okay to hit other kids. Explain what consequences will happen if he doesn’t get the message. I’m not just talking about punishments that you impose, but teach him how other kids will perceive him as a bully. Explain through stories that kids who hit have fewer friends, for example. Think outside of the box to explain what natural consequences will happen if he chooses to continue this behavior.

Give him suggestions on what he can do next time he’s upset. You can also provide him with an “anger pillow” which he can punch or squeeze when he’s mad. Expressing emotions is actually encouraged in children; we just need to teach them how to express it in a healthy and safe way. Punching kids or walls in the house is not okay. Punching a pillow or a mattress is usually fine.

Chris Thompson headshotAbout The Author:
Chris Thompson is the creator of “Talking to Toddlers”, an audio course for parents. He teaches parents how to overcome the normal problems that every Mom and Dad faces with kids by learning better communication skills.

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