There are times in every parent lives when they are up against a child that is having a difficult day. It can be the type of day where everything upsets them, they are grumpy, won’t sit still and you end up wondering if they are coming down with something. For most children, these things can be occasional, but for others, it can be a regular occurrence. How can you cope with this type of behavior on a regular basis?
Understanding Why It’s Happening
Before you can think about how to deal with your child’s behavior, it is important that you try to find out why they are displaying these types of signs. Behavior is a way of communicating with others, so you should try to figure out why they feel the need to display these bad traits. Sometimes it can be because they feel this is the only way they can tell you how they feel. Perhaps they are having issues trying to display any other type of behavior. Another reason is perhaps there is a medical issue that needs to be diagnosed and treated. It is always a good idea to speak to your doctor, so they can refer you to a therapist. The therapist can then assess your child to see if they display any of the symptoms on this list for ADHD or any other condition.
If you are having problems trying to get your child to follow directions, you might think that they are just not listening or being difficult. However, there could be problems with their understanding or remembering those directions. The next time you need them to follow your directions, try these steps. Get their attention and keep eye contact with them while you explain it. Show them what you want them to do, some children just like people, like practical help rather than just verbal. Draw them a chart or a list to remind them and help them understand the process. After a few times, they might not need the list anymore. You should also reduce the amount you talk to them about the task. The more they have to listen to, the less they will be able to retain.
Dealing with Homework
If there is one task that most kids dread it is homework, not because they don’t like school, but because they often think there are more fun things to do. It can lead to homework not being done until the last day or even in the morning it’s due in. There are a few things that you can do to try and make homework a little less stressful. Try to give them a goal that they need to achieve for that assignment, this is easier to do if they have a few days to complete it. Go through the assignment with them, so you know they understand the work. If they don’t, then try to explain it to them so they can understand. If this is still not working, then you may need to speak to their teacher to help them clarify it. Set a timer for a set amount of work, so they know how long it takes. You can also try to break down big assignments into smaller pieces, so they don’t feel so overwhelmed.
How many times have you told your child to sit still when they are eating or trying to work on something? It can feel frustrating because you think they are doing it on purpose. However, there are other reasons they might be unable to sit still. Some conditions such as Ehlers Danlos can make it difficult for a child to sit still because of their perception of where their limbs are. Try to ensure that the chair and desk they are sitting at is right for their height. They need to have their feet flat on the floor with their writing arm supported by the desk surface. You can also try to build in opportunities to move such as toilet breaks or snack breaks, these should be regularly spaced out, so there isn’t too much time between each.
Working on Their Own
If your child never seems to be able to do anything by themselves and always needs you with them, you might think they want attention. However, there may be other reasons for this behavior, they might not feel confident about the task, or they may be worried about making a mistake. Ask them what they think about what they need to do and if any part seems hard. You can then try to talk to them about it to see if you can make it easier for them. Try doing the first question or section of the work together so they know the work and how it needs to be done. You can then watch them do the next part, so you know they understood. It is also a good idea to regularly check their work, so they can’t get too far off the wrong track or get distracted.
Learn to Communicate Together
Just as children need to learn to communicate, parents also need to remember this as well. You might think that you are communicating with your child, but it might actually be shouting or demanding rather than talking. Sit down with your child and ask them to tell you their side of the story, you might find that their understanding of the situation is different from yours and that is what’s causing the issue. You can also ask them what is going on as opposed to why are they misbehaving, it is also important to mention rewards if they do something rather than punishments if they don’t. It can be frustrating, but if you try to understand your child’s thinking process, you might be able to make progress.
Sometimes, bad behavior is not them being bad, but rather that they can’t explain how they feel. By working with your child and not against them, you can help them to put their feelings into words.