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Parenting Techniques for Difficult Children

by Angeliki Coconi

It’s all about changing your thinking, and when you’re trying your hardest to follow all those traditional parenting methods — that authoritarian way of handling misbehavior with zero result — you’ll know why. Presenting yourself as the all-powerful authority figure in your child’s life may intimidate the average child while providing more of a reason for difficult children to react negatively. Remember not to be afraid to change your parenting methods when the situation calls for it.

Stay Calm, Be Understanding

Being calm and limiting your reaction to your child’s misbehavior can be a good thing as parental reaction often leads to further reaction from the child. A lot of the time, keeping a cool head will calm your child. For children exhibiting difficult behaviors, in particular, traditional forms of punishment may appear to be acts of revenge no matter what your intention may be. Corporal punishment, for instance, will often create feelings of hostility between you and your child. Children who are acting out commonly need a more modern approach and will respond more appropriately to a parent who tries to relate or sympathize. Yelling, shouting and lashing out will only send the message that their misbehavior is warranted.

See Qualities in his 'Flaws'

Do not make your child feel like he’s flawed. Difficult behaviors should not be viewed as flaws. You do not want your child feeling like there is something inherently wrong with him. Instead of treating every act of your child as negative, try viewing his behavior in a positive light based on the situation. An example of this might be the stubbornness that can so often be found in children. Ask yourself what stubbornness is; perhaps you can view his stubbornness, instead, as persistence. Persistence is most definitely a good quality, essential to completing what you have started.

Focus on Positives

In the same vein, when handling the little guy, try focusing on certain positives he possesses. Many times, these positives are tied into the difficulties that are driving you crazy. If, for example, your little one shows a deep reluctance to attend playgroup, preschool or first-grade on account of being left alone, this will usually show heightened sensitivity in your child. Sensitivity has many advantages, so make sure you acknowledge these in spite of the crying and shrieking each morning when you say goodbye.

Understand his Needs.

Another good hint, and something that has become a crucial aspect of parenting children with difficult behaviors is in making the utmost effort to understand their needs, both physically and emotionally. On a basic, physical level, understanding your child’s diet will help in nurturing him and doing what is best to help guide him towards positive behavior. Junk food, which is naturally high in sugar, will make it increasingly difficult for your child to control his impulses. Keep his diet rich in fruit and vegetables. On an emotional level, it is important that your little guy knows you are there to listen to him. Even if what he is demanding is difficult, make an effort to accommodate him. Show him he has someone who cares about what he has to say and how he feels.

About the Author

Angeliki Coconi started writing in 1999 with the theater comedy "Loop," produced in Athens. In 2001 she wrote and produced another comedy, "Modern Cinderella." In 2006 she was awarded a Master of Science in literature from the University of Edinburgh. In 2009 Coconi obtained the Postgraduate Certificate in Screenwriting from Napier University of Edinburgh.

Photo Credits

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