Tag Archive for: tantrums


This Is What Happens When You Give In To Tantrums

We’ve all been there.  You just have a few more things on your shopping list left to get when your child decides to have a huge tantrum right in the middle of the frozen foods aisle.  It can be a stressful and embarrassing situation for any parent.  In an attempt to quiet them down and get out of the store as quickly as possible, many parents offer their children candy or their phone to play with.  “Just this once!” they’ll say, promising they won’t give in next time.

While most parents will admit that this isn’t an ideal behavior management strategy, we can all understand that desperate times call for desperate measures.  Giving into a tantrum doesn’t hurt every once and a while, right?  Unfortunately, wrong.  “Every once and a while” is actually the perfect way to ensure that your child will continue that behavior again and again.   Behavioral psychologists call this a variable schedule of reinforcement.  This means that someone is reinforced, or rewarded, on an unpredictable schedule.  A perfect grown-up example of this is a slot machine.  Slot machines are so addicting because you never know when the machine is going to pay out.  It could be after 2 turns, or after 200!  Knowing that it happens rarely does not deter you from playing.  In fact, it keeps you going even after many unsuccessful tries!   When we variably reinforce a child’s behavior, we’re like their version of a slot machine.  They’ll think, “Mom doesn’t always give me candy when I scream, but I know it happens sometimes.  I better scream louder and louder until she does!”

Unfortunately, behaviors that have been variably reinforced can be the hardest to get rid of.  When we stop rewarding a child for the behavior, they will likely start behaving even worse in a desperate attempt to get what they want.  This is called an “extinction burst.” While it will past with time, it can be exhausting.  Here are some tips for getting through it:

  1. Offer an appropriate reward ahead of time. Instead of giving them candy or your phone toThis Is What Happens When You Give In To Tantrums stop a bad behavior, tell them they will only get that reward if they do not engage in the problem behavior.  If it’s going to be a long trip, offer little rewards for every chunk of time they go without misbehaving.  Make sure the behavior and reward is discussed BEFORE getting into the difficult situation or setting, and if you make a promise, follow through with it.
  1. Catch them being good! Many children tantrum in public because they are bored or want attention.  Offer a lot of praise and attention when they are being well behaved.  Make sure you tell them exactly what they are doing that you like!
  1. Make punishments immediate. If you feel that your child’s behavior merits punishment, make sure it is something that can be implemented immediately or very soon after the event.  If they normally get to watch a movie or play a game in the car, remove this privilege.  If they have already earned a fun activity in the store, take it away.  Waiting to give extra chores or take away something at home may be too far removed from the event to be meaningful, especially for younger children.
  1. Be confident in your parenting! For every judgmental glare you get in the grocery store while your child screams, there will be lots of sympathetic caregivers who are cheering you on.   Stay strong with the knowledge that not giving in means good behavior in the future!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

calm down strategies

10 Simple Calm Down Strategies For Young Children

Calm down”, “Just relax”, “Cool it”, “Chill out”, “ Take it easy”.  Throughout the years of working with parents and their children, I’ve heard all sorts of ways that parents attempt to help their children gain control of themselves.  As children develop from infants, to toddlers, to preschoolers and on, they constantly improve their understanding of various emotional states.  Early on, children have limited resources and knowledge of how to soothe themselves when upset or uncomfortable.  When it comes to children gaining control over their emotions, parents and 10 Simple Calm Down Strategies for Young Childrencaregivers have complicated task.  This task is two-fold.  The first task (as mentioned in a previous blog about the consequences of coddling) is to give children the space to experience upsets and frustrations inherent in life.  The second (and related) task is to provide the nurturing and support necessary for their children to effectively manage the day-to-day upsets and frustrations.

Below is a list of 10 “simple calm-down strategies” that can be used with children as young as toddler-age.  However, before reading on, beware not to be fooled by the word “simple” in the title.  The task of helping your little ones learn to calm themselves in the face of agitation is not simple at all.  On the contrary, this task involves knowing your child and constantly attending to the evolving relationship between you and your child.  It is important to note that the strategies listed below will not have the same impact on all children.  Likewise, a strategy that works well for your child on one occasion may not work as well a different time.  After reading the remainder of this blog, I encourage you to choose a few strategies that seem promising, try them with your son or daughter, and as always, please share your feedback below.

10 simple calm-down strategies for young children:

  1. Color/draw: This can serve as both a distraction as well as a way to express one’s self. With very young children you may just want to set them up with some paper and crayons.  For children a little older, they can draw a picture of what made them upset, or a picture of a time when they were feeling calm and happy.
  2. Music: Music can be used in many different ways. If your children are more active and need to get out some energy, maybe they can have a 3 minute dance party.  Other ways to use this strategy include listening to a favorite song or playing calming instrumental music.
  3. Drink water or have a snack: Being hungry or thirsty can certainly contribute to our emotional state (no matter how old you are!). Parents are advised to closely monitor the use of food as a way to soothe uncomfortable feelings as this should not become a primary tool for coping with stress.
  4. Count to 10: or 50, or 100.  Counting in itself can be calming because it focuses the mind on something else (which means that the mind isn’t focused on the stress).
  5. 5 deep breaths: (Diaphragmatic breathing or “belly breathing”): True relaxation breathing is a strategy that takes practice. To begin, have your little one take deep breaths so that their stomach is pushed out upon inhale and relaxes during exhale.
  6. Bubbles: Closely tied to strategy number 5, blowing bubbles can help children feel calmer on a few different levels.  First, for very young children, simply seeing and popping bubbles can be distracting enough from whatever originally triggered the upset.  For children a bit older, blowing bubbles can encourage the deep breathing that will help bring about a sense of calmness.
  7. Bear hugs: Your little ones can be encouraged to wrap their arms around their body and give themselves a hug. This can feel comforting for young children and it can also serve as a reminder to be kind to one’s self, especially during times of stress.
  8. Play with putty: Putty, sand, Play-Doh, or similar materials can also serve as effective calming tools. Young children should be supervised while using this strategy to ensure safe use of the materials.
  9. Change the scene: During the throes of a tantrum (or even a less intense state of agitation), kids can become stuck. They can become stuck in negative thinking and stuck in maladaptive behaviors.
  10. Take a break: We all need a break sometimes, and children are no different. If it’s a particular task that became too frustrating (for example, a puzzle), encourage your child to walk away from it and return at a later time.  If your child has been on-the-go all day, you can expect that his/her patience will run out faster than usual.

Last, but certainly not least, consider your own calm-down strategies.  Your children learn so much from you simply by observing.  Take some time for personal reflection, do you yell and bang on the steering wheel when you get stuck in traffic?  Are you quick to raise your voice, or do you remain more even-tempered, despite experiencing agitation?  As with all skills you teach your child, don’t forget to model the behavior you wish to see in your little ones.  If you have more ideas regarding calm-down tips for toddlers or young children, please share below!

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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!


Frustration-Free Communication With Your Toddler

There’s no question about it, and there’s no reason to feel guilty for thinking it: communicating with a toddler can be frustrating. To repeat: communicating with a toddler can be frustrating. Every parent feels this frustration at some point, as do many toddlers! Toddlers are aware of what they want, but they often have trouble conveying these desires to care givers. It is important to remember: it’s ok! Toddlers acquire language each and every day as they are exposed to new words, and, with that, their vocabulary grows.

During this time of rapid language development, there are a few tips to support and encourage language, while also reducing frustration for BOTH communicative partners.

Tips for Frustration-Free Communication with Your Toddler:

  • Reduce the demand: When a child is trying to explain wants and needs, she may feel pressuredFrustration-Free Communication with Your Toddler to verbalize her choices or may just not feel like talking. That’s ok! If a parent is unable to elicit a verbal response, he or she may try reducing the demand! Accept pointing as an alternative, so long as the child is staying compliant with what is being asked of him.
  • Approximate: When a child is attempting to verbalize with a parent, words may often be distorted or syllables may be missing, resulting in immature speech. This is expected in toddlers, but parents can encourage approximation. For example, if a child attempts to say “door,” but instead says “do,” parents can praise their child for trying and respond with “yes, let’s open the door!” Similarly, if a toddler requests “oo na,” parents can reply, “oh, do you want fruit snacks?”
  • Model: When children are acquiring expressive language, parents should be modeling appropriate requests and verbal turn-taking throughout the day. During play, parents can express “my turn,” to encourage toddlers to initiate taking turns and labeling actions. Parents can also model requests, for example, “I want more, Molly. Do you want more?” in order to encourage toddlers to imitate.
  • Provide choices: Offering choices can help to limit toddler frustration during communication. If choices are finite, toddlers won’t have to search through their growing—but sometimes inadequate—vocabulary to retrieve words. If offered, for example, apples or bananas, toddlers will feel the independence to make the decision that they desire. Simultaneously, parents are able to quickly and efficiently learn what their toddlers want.
  • Gesture: It can be frustrating for both parents and toddlers when language demands are placed. If a toddler doesn’t feel like saying “hi” to Uncle Andrew or giving him a hug that day, accept a wave of the hand or a high-five. These gestures are still intentional communication; that is, they still promote social development. Just encourage socialization and more verbalization the next time!

These tips can help to reduce frustration for both parents and toddlers. If parents find that they are unable to understand 50% of what their toddler is trying to communicate, a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) can help! This time with your toddlers should be fun, and SLPs can help to make things easier for toddlers to express their wants and needs. Comment below if you have any other frustration-free communication tips!

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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

10 tips to tame tantrums

10 Tips to Tame Tantrums

Temper tantrums can be brutal.  They evoke a variety of feelings including anger, sadness, rage, and sometimes hopelessness.  These emotions can be experienced by the tantruming child, his/her caregivers, and even those observing the situation.  Some caregivers experience their children’s tantrums on a regular basis.  For others, tantrums are fewer and further between. These differences can be accounted for by children’s individual temperament, development of their coping skills, and patterns of caregivers’ responses.  It is expected that as children develop their social-emotional skills through preschool and early elementary school years, temper tantrums occur less and less often and with decreased intensity.  If you have concerns that your child’s tantrums are getting in the way of healthy development, contacting a pediatric mental health professional is certainly recommended. Read on for 10 tips to help tame your child’s tantrums.

10 Tips to Tame Tantrums:

  1. Understand tantrums. When dealing with children, it is often helpful to view their behavior as a10 tips to tame tantrums means of communication. Think to yourself, what is my child “telling” me.  A tantrum indicates that a child feels unable to manage his current situation.  Perhaps he’s unable to express to you how he’s feeling.  Perhaps he is so upset about X that he doesn’t know what to do with himself!  Or maybe he thinks that if he screams enough you’ll eventually give in.  Remember that a tantruming child is NOT enjoying himself.  He is in more distress than he can currently tolerate.
  2. Keep your cool. Demonstrate to your child that YOU are able to remain calm in the face of adversity.  Be a model for her.  Use a calm voice, rather than allowing yourself to sound as frustrated as you’re feeling.  Consider how you position yourself.  Standing directly above your child can feel intimidating for her.  Using a more open stance to the side of the child can help her feel less threatened.
  3. Pretend to ignore your child’s behavior. Show him you aren’t impressed by his yelling, etc.  Over time, he will understand that he cannot control you by exhibiting this behavior.
  4. Utilize your child’s need for power and control in a positive way. Provide opportunities for your child to feel they have some control while ultimately not giving in to his behavior.
  5. Adjust immediate expectations. When your child is in the middle of a tantrum, he is not functioning at his full potential.  His system is temporarily down.  Therefore, tasks that you would expected him to complete independently may require your assistance in the throes of a tantrum.
  6. Use consequences for unacceptable behavior, but use them sparingly. I say to use them sparingly because if negative consequences are your go-to strategy they can lose their effect.
  7. Be consistent. Talk with your partner, as well as your child’s teachers, babysitters, etc. about how you respond to tantrums.  If your child can expect a similar response from his caregivers, it will help decrease tantrums from occurring in the first place.
  8. Keep yourself in check. Remember, YOU are the adult.  Sure, our children may lose control from time to time but it’s up to you to maintain composure!  We often talk about time-outs for children, but sometimes adults need to take a time out too.  Recognize when your emotions are getting too overwhelming to handle and take a “break” when necessary.  As long as your child is safe, it’s okay to tell him, “Daddy needs to take a break right now”.
  9. Remember it isn’t about you. So don’t take it personally. Your child’s tantrum is about her own ability to manage emotions and get her needs met.
  10. Consult with others and use your resources. Talk to your doctor, child’s teacher and friends about your child’s behavior.  Don’t face the challenges of parenting alone!

Do you have other tips or suggestions about managing tantrums?  Your feedback is invited below!

Click here to read about dealing with tantrums in public.

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NSPT offers Social Services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood (coming soon), Glenview and the Neuropsychology Diagnostic and Testing Center in Des Plaines. If you have questions, or concerns, about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

The 411 on Tantrums

Temper tantrums usually occur between the ages of 1-3 and are typically common in both boys and girls.  Children might throw tantrums because they are seeking attention or cannot get what they want.  In addition, they also might throw a tantrum because they are hungry, tired, or in discomfort.  Tantrums are common during a child’s life when the child is acquiring language and trying to complete more things on his own.  A child typically understands more than he can communicate and not being able to express his needs/wants can result in a tantrum.  Once language increases and improves, the amount of tantrums seen can decrease.  Children’s temperaments are very different and can influence how often a child has a tantrum.  Some children exhibit many, where other children have few.  Just like adults, children have differing personalities that are evident even as early as toddlers, which explains why they handle situations in different ways.  For example, some children get frustrated easily where others are more relaxed and are able go with the flow.  Below are helpful tips to address and avoid tantrums.

Great Techniques to Address Tantrums:

  • Remain calm.  Getting frustrated and screaming back will only escalate the situation.  Remember to talk calmly with your child and explain why he cannot have or cannot do something.  You can also try to redirect the conversation and talk about something else. Read more

What to Do When Your Child Throws a Tantrum in Public

Trying to deal with a child that is throwing a tantrum is never easy, but when this fits are occurring outside of the privacy of your own tantrum in publichome, these tantrums may create a completely new level of anxiety. In fact, some parents are so nervous that they will not be able to handle their child during a tantrum that they fear going out in public with their child altogether. They may worry about negative attention from strangers as well as being judged on how well they are parenting.

Dealing with tantrums are never easy; below are some helpful tips on what to do when your child throws tantrums in public to make it easier for you:

  • Keep Calm.  You need to remain in control. If you begin to become stressed and scream or yell, then the situation will only escalate. For example, calmly discuss with your child about why they cannot have a certain item and move away from that area. Try to redirect the conversation and talk about something else in order to help your child lose focus on what he/she wants. Do not panic and feel that everyone is staring at you. Tantrums are regular behaviors of children and do not usually phase most people;  however, more people will begin to stare if your reaction is just as loud as your child’s tantrum.
  • Never See Them Again.  Remember that the people you see in the store will most likely not be seen again. You should not worry about what others are thinking as they are not as concerned with the situation as you are imagining and it will easily be forgotten. Most people understand as they have experienced similar situations. They have their own matters to worry about and focus on.
  • Consistency. Make sure that you are consistent in how you are addressing your child’s tantrums. If a tantrum at home would typically result in a timeout, then continue to use the same Read more

5 Ways To Prevent Meltdowns After School

Oftentimes, after-school hours and times of transition can be extremely difficult for children, especially for children with sensory processing disorder (SPD)boy tantrum. Children may often perform well throughout the school day, but then quickly meltdown after they get home. Meltdowns occur because the child will often take in a high amount of sensory experiences (e.g. noisy lunchroom) and has many demands placed on him/her throughout the school day. Once the school day is finished, the child is usually exhausted upon arriving at home, therefore, it is vital for parents to overly-prepare their children for what is expected of them after school (e.g. extracurricular activities, homework, bath time, relaxation time, and bedtime) so that the entire family can have a more positive end to the school and work day.

5 Ways To Prevent Meltdowns After School:

  1. Over exaggerate expectations:  It may feel silly at first, but it is extremely beneficial to talk aloud with your child about
    what is expected of him/her and what the day’s schedule will look like. This becomes even more important during the weekends when there is not as much structure within the day. Overall, children crave rules, directions, structure and routines, therefore, it is crucial for parents to be clear and consistent and provide fair and obtainable expectations for their children.
  2. Picture/visual schedule:  These tools can be incredibly helpful for younger children and/or those children who are particularly visual learners.  Picture/visual schedules help the child see what the schedule is (e.g. first snack, then homework, and last television time).  Similarly, when one of the tasks is completed, the child can put an “X” through the task or remove it from the schedule (e.g. if it is Velcro). This provides the child with independence and a feeling of accomplishment.  Ideally, this prevents the parents from having to ‘nag’ the child too frequently.
  3. Timer:  Both visual timers and auditory timers can provide a child with structure and with a reasonable goal to work towards (e.g. We’re going to practice your spelling words for 15 minutes and when the timer goes off, you can take a 5-minute movement break before moving onto the next piece of homework).  A timer helps the child know that there is an end in sight.  Similarly, for older children, a timer can help them to become more independent with time management.
  4. Calendar/Assignment notebook:  These tools can help promote responsibility and time management. In addition, they can also help  provide a visual cue.  Similarly, these tools can serve as a ‘to-do’ list and it can be a great motivator to cross something off of the ‘to-do’ list as it provides a sense of accomplishment and completion.  Try making it a habit to look over your child’s calendar/assignment notebook with him/her each morning. This will help both of you stay on the same page and so that you may successfully plan ahead together.  Ideally, this will instill good habits for the child down the road as well.
  5. Write a note:  Who doesn’t love receiving a thoughtful note or card?  Try leaving your child some encouragement throughout his/her week (e.g. Before her big math test tomorrow, leave her a note the morning before, near her spot at the breakfast table.  Remind your child that you know he/she has a big test tomorrow and that you are happy to help her study tonight. In addition, remind her to just take one day at a time and encourage him/her to just try her best). Having a positive support system can  help your child feel less pressure and less stress, even during difficult times.
Overall, structure and over-communication are the keys to your child’s reduction in meltdowns after getting home from a long school day.   Keep in mind that even adults crave structure and consistency throughout the day.  Feel free to ask your child which one of the strategies above would be most helpful for him/her- children are often more aware and knowledgeable than we usually give them credit for. In fact, they will most likely have input as to what works best for their body!  Please reach out to an occupational therapist or behavior therapist if you require more individualized ideas for your own child regarding after-school meltdowns.

8 Tips to Help Your Child Gain Control of His/Her Emotions

Many people, both adults and children, have difficulties dealing with emotions. Parents sometimes struggle with helping their children appropriately express their feelings. Taking the time and energy to teach children how to manage their feelings is extremely important and beneficial for children. There are several advantages that children can gain from being able to control their emotions. Some possible advantages are: paying better attention, being more likely to appropriately interact with others, and being less likely to act on impulse. Below are 8 tips that can help you teach your child how to gain control of their emotions.

Tips To Help Your Child Control Their EmotionsGirl Crying

  1. Talk about emotions/feelings. Make sure your child understands all the different kinds of emotions he can feel. Talk about what kind of behaviors and facial expressions might come from different emotions. In addition, when he is expressing different emotions, talk about why he is feeling this way and exhibiting certain behaviors.
  2. Be able to recognize how others feel. Your child also needs to know how to read the feelings/emotions of others. By being able to read the facial expressions and body language of others, your child can recognize how others are feeling and get a better understanding on how to interact with those individuals. This in turn can help him build more meaningful and beneficial relationships.
  3. Identify coping strategies. Help your child identify different coping strategies that he can utilize when he needs to gain control. Your child should know that it is possible for people to lose control; however, there should be different coping strategies in place to help them regain control. It is important to make sure that you identify appropriate coping strategies for your child because each child is different and will need different techniques to help them calm down. Some coping strategy suggestions that might be useful to your child are: listening to music, coloring/drawing, going to a quiet area, squeezing a stress ball or stuffed animal, blowing bubbles, drinking a glass of cold water, etc..
  4. Write stories. Once you have distinguished different triggers that can result in your child losing control as well as the proper coping strategies he/she can use to help regain control, sitdown and write a story together. In the story, you want to write out the things that upset your child and the different actions and coping strategies he/she uses to help him/her calm down. Read and discuss these stories on a daily basis, as well as, before a certain situation or activity might take place that usually upsets your child.
  5. Catch him in control. When your child maintains control, provide verbal praise. You want to make sure that your child receives the praise and credit he/she deserves for appropriately handling an upsetting situation.
  6. Coach him if out of control. If your child does not use his/her coping strategies to help them calm down and regain control, be sure to coach him and provide feedback. Do not start coaching or providing feedback until your child is calm. It will not help anyone if you try to immediately coach and give feedback when your child is upset and not in control. Once calm, your child will be able to think more clearly and will be able to rationalize what could have been a more appropriate way to handle the situation.
  7. Practice makes perfect. Use role-play to help your child work through different upsetting situations. By practicing and talking about different upsetting situations that could possibly happen, it can help your child be prepared to deal with future upset. Try to let your child independently provide as much information about what he/she would do in the different situations, before you offer help and guidance.
  8. Lead by example. Children learn a lot from others and are very quick to pickup and mimic behaviors, either good or bad, that they have seen exhibited by others. Be a good role model and practice what you preach. We are human and get upset, but you need to try to be aware of your coping strategies and utilize them to maintain control.


Bossy Girls: How To Manage Your Daughter’s “Diva-ness”

Bossiness can be perceived in different ways. Some people see it as being rude and controlling. While others view it as an bossy girlindividual knowing what they want and standing up for it. No matter how it is viewed, most parents do not want their children to be bossy. Many parents fear that their children will lose friends if they are bossy and absorbed only in themselves.

3 suggestions to help you manage your bossy daughter:

1. Talk About It.

Help your daughter understand what it means to be a good friend. Provide situations in which she has been a good friend by cooperating, appropriately playing, and making decisions with her friends. Also, discuss situations in which she has not been a good friend by acting bossy and controlling situations.

Help her realize that being bossy and controlling is not okay and have her identify more appropriate ways to interact with her friends. For example, stress the importance of listening to her friends and sharing and taking turns on what they want to do. Cooperation is another skill that can be taught, as well as teaching her to make suggestions and provide choices rather than just being demanding.

2. Practice.

After you discussed more appropriate ways for your daughter to play and interact with her friends, you should role-play different scenarios. Provide different situations in which she can either be a cooperative friend or a bossy friend. Have your daughter explain what she would do in the different situations. Throughout these role-playing exercises, provide your daughter guidance and feedback.

3. In the Moment.

When your daughter is playing with her friends, you want to be able to catch her in the moment. When she is appropriately playing with her friends and being a good friend, provide praise for these nice interactions. If you observe her being bossy, pull her aside and let her know that she is being bossy and not being a good friend and explain why.

Instead of calling your daughter out in front of her friends, it is best to talk to her in a different room or even whisper in her ear. If she continues the behavior after you bring it to her attention, give her a time-out. Let her know that when she is ready to be a good friend she can go back to playing with her friends. While in time-out, you can have her write an apology letter to her friends or after the time-out, you can have her verbally apologize to her friends.

If your daughter gives attitude toward you, let her know that the way she is acting is not okay and have her restate what she said in a nicer tone/manner. If she continues to be bossy or rude do not grant her request until she can make the request in an appropriate manner.

How to Take Control When Your Child Wants Control

Many parents don’t realize that setting rules and boundaries for their child is just the beginning of teaching appropriate behavior. Children aren’t born with the ability to understand rules – it’s a learned behavior. Just because rules and boundaries are established does not mean children will be receptive towards following them.

More often then not, children manipulate rules set by authority figures, especially parents. Parents often get the brunt of their child’s disobedience because the home is a child’s safeguard – it’s the place that will always love and accept them, and where they tend to take the most liberties with their behavior. So, what do you do when your child has taken control of the household into his own hands?

Why Your Child Is Behaving Badly:

Before this question can be answered, it’s important to understand why your child is acting out. Many parents don’t realize that they actually do have complete control of all situations. Children learn certain responses to certain situations over time, and once responses are learned, it takes only moments before that child will start applying that learned response to all other situations.

For example, say you take your three-year-old child to the store and she asks for candy. You say “no,” so the child screams louder. You continue to say “no,” and the child get even louder – screaming, crying, stomping her feet. Some parents will respond to this by giving the child what she wants because it immediately stops the behavior; however, what that child just learned was, “If I’m told I can’t have something, I need to scream and cry as loud as I can in order to get it.”

In this situation, you have just created a whole chain of learned responses for that child. She may not have engaged in that behavior during other situations, but she will now remember to apply this strategy in the future.

What “Giving In” Teaches Your Child:

Bad behavior always gets worse before it gets better – this is why many parents are unable to stand their ground and keep control. But that inevitably leads to the child controlling his parents. He learns that he will always get what he wants if he continues to act inappropriate. Read more