What’s the best way to handle a “difficult” child?
Today, we bring you some general strategies and solutions to help you live with a youngster with bothersome temperament traits:
- First, understand that much of your child’s behavior is a reflection of his temperament.
- Create an objective or a neutral emotional climate in which to deal with your child. Do not respond in an emotional and impulsive manner, which is counterproductive.
- Don’t take your child’s behavior personally. Your child is probably not purposely trying to be irritating. Temperament is innate. Don’t blame yourself or him.
- Review your preferences, your values and your expectations of your child. Are they realistic and appropriate? When your child does something right, praise him and reinforce the specific behaviors that you like.
- Try to prioritize the problems surrounding your child. Some issues are more important and deserve greater attention. Others are not as relevant and can be either ignored or put “way down the list.”
- Focus on the issues of the moment. Do not project into the future.
- Anticipate impending high-risk situations, and try to minimize or avoid them. Accept the possibility that this may be a difficult day or circumstance, and be prepared to make the best of it.
- Think about your own temperament and behavior, and how they might also be difficult. Consider how you may need to adjust yourself a bit to encourage a better fit with your child.
- Try to get some relief for yourself and your child by scheduling some time apart.
- Seek professional help, when needed, from your paediatrician or another expert in child behavior.