In a previous blog, I talked about the three things that don’t help when dealing with your child’s behavior and one of those things is punishment. I know that when you use punishment it can feel like you are stopping those challenging behaviors, but the reality is that you are only putting a temporary fix on a long-term problem. Punishment does stop the behavior in the short term but the problem with punishment is it doesn’t create any long-term behavior change so before you know it you are right back where you started. (or even worse than you were before). So, if punishment isn’t the answer, here are 7 “quick fixes” to help you deal with challenging behavior!
Quick Fix #1: Ask for help BEFORE you are at your edge
So often we wait until we can’t handle another thing before asking for help. We do this in relation to our child’s behavior, too. When things are in crisis, though, it’s very hard to turn things around. Making changes early makes all of the difference! Asking for help doesn’t make you a bad parent just the opposite! Strong parents ask for help!
Quick Fix #2: Take a step back and make sure your expectations are VERY clear and if not, reteach and practice
One mistake we make as parents is assuming that our kids “just know” what to do or what we are expecting. Just because it’s obvious to us doesn’t mean it’s obvious to them and just because some of our kids know what to do, doesn’t mean they all do!
Quick Fix #3: Look at your daily schedule and make sure it works for all of your kids
Sometimes changing your daily schedule is all that’s needed to turn challenging behavior around.
- Are your kids sitting too long?
- Do you need to mix in more preferred activities with the less preferred?
- Do you need to change the times of the day that they eat or go to sleep?
Lots of behavior issues can be helped by just changing what the day looks like!
Quick Fix #4: Take a break
Dealing with challenging behavior can be exhausting and may lead to us making poor choices and sometimes even making the behavior worse. Sometimes the very best thing you can do is take a break to recharge. This may seem too simple but, I promise you, a break can really turn things around.
Quick Fix #5: Beware of what your body language and mood are saying to your child
Our kids can bring out the worst in us and that doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human. Dealing with a child with challenging behaviors can bring out all kinds of thoughts and feelings in us. Just make sure to check that your body language is not sending the wrong message.
Quick Fix #6: Make sure your corrective feedback and positives are balanced through the day
It can be very easy to get caught in what I call the “corrective feedback black hole.” This is where the more challenging your child’s behavior is, the more imbalanced the positives and negatives become. This, in-turn, only fuels the challenging behavior.
Make sure that you find ways to give positives, even on the worst days (and even when it seems like the positives are few and far between). Find those moments and let your child know you see the good mixed in with the bad.
Quick Fix #7: Breathe….
Sometimes the best thing we can do is take a few deep breaths and let our bodies and emotions relax. So often when dealing with challenging behavior we hold our breath without even knowing it. Take a moment to make sure you are still breathing in and out and allow your body to calm down before moving forward. It might just make all of the difference.
Deal with Challenging Behavior Effectively
If you are ready to really deal with challenging behavior effectively, you’ll want to grab my Behavior Buster Toolkit! I created this for teachers but it works great for parenting through tough behaviors as well!