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How to Handle a Difficult Child

by Mai Bryant

Difficult behavior in children can come in many different forms. Tantrums, aggression, lying and resisting authority are just a few of the examples that you may encounter when dealing with difficult children. Although children often display bad or difficult behavior on occasion, it is consistent negative behavior that can make a child difficult to handle. If you find yourself in a situation where you must handle children that are being difficult, care must be taken to not make any negative problems or situations worse.

Take a deep breath and wait at least 30 seconds before reacting to children who are acting in a difficult manner. Remain as calm as possible and keep control of any negative or angry responses. By not reacting in an angry or frustrated way, you are providing a positive example and will not encourage the children to become more difficult.

Provide children with something else to do or focus on. For example, if you are having difficulty removing a child from a room where a favorite television program is playing, give the child something else of interest to play with.

Take children to a quiet location if they are difficult to the point of being disruptive or throwing a tantrum. A quiet or "cool down" space can be a child's room, outside or even in the car if you are in a public location. Wait silently and give the child time to calm down and, depending on age, consider her behavior. Do not try to talk or reason with her until she is adequately calmed.

Put your arms around him and provide physical contact that conveys calm and comfort. Let him know that you want to hug him as he calms down and tell him that you love him. Physical contact will help to convey the message that you love and care for him regardless of how difficult he behaves.

Create and maintain eye contact to capture the child's attention while discussing problems, as recommended by Ohio State University. If necessary, wait for her to calm down, so she they is able to listen attentively to you when you are speaking. Express what is and is not appropriate behavior and explain the best way to express herself without resorting to tantrums, resistance or whichever type of difficult behavior she is displaying. Tell her what the consequences are to her actions and follow through with her. Do not yell or speak in an accusatory tone of voice.

Take him to the doctor if he becomes increasingly difficult or behaves in a way that could cause him harm or you are unable to see any improvement despite your efforts. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) include inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. These are often behaviors that can make a child appear difficult. A doctor can properly diagnose and set children on the correct path towards improvement by making lifestyle changes and fulfilling medication needs if required.

Tip

  • Give positive reinforcement when children do good things or are well-behaved.

About the Author

Mai Bryant is a Northern California writer who specializes in writing about health-related topics, fashion and relationships. She began writing online in 2005 but has freelanced privately for more than 10 years. Bryant's eclectic professional background as a medical technician, a licensed cosmetologist, copywriter and event planner allows her to write with authority on numerous topics.

Photo Credits

  • Screaming toddler outdoors image by Olga Sapegina from Fotolia.com