When Might I Need To Intervene In My Child’s Behaviour

We live in a time when much is known and written about child behaviour and development and there is much information readily available to assist your as parents. As always as parents, you are the first educators of your child and a good way to do this is by appropriate modelling of behaviour.

Some common behaviour problems which are best handled and not ignored are:

Interrupting people

Young children are very attached to their parents and/or carers and so often have things to tell them ‘immediately’. Young children naturally are concerned with their own interests and thoughts and need to learn how to get your attention appropriately. These things won’t be learnt overnight and need patient reminders and positive reinforcement when behaviours are what you have taught. One method I saw recently was were the young child had been taught to come up to her mother and gently place her hand on her mum’s arm and wait. Her mum within a short period of time, excused herself from the conversation and praised her child and tended to what she wanted. Another was is to teach them to say ‘Excuse Me’ and wait. If appropriate, have a toy your child likes and set them up to play while you talk with your friends.

Playing too rough

Rough play is a part of growing and children can’t always know when it’s play or something hurtful. Seemingly subtle behaviours like pinching or pushing, and more open behaviours such as biting and kicking, can become habits if left unchallenged. Your efforts to help your child to see that such behaviours can hurt another and so cannot be allowed, may need time and consistent reminders as they don’t always stop immediately.

Some further reading on this issue can be done at:

Raising Children Network — Rough-and-tumble Play
University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development — Rough Play

Developing ‘attitude’

Behaviours such as shoulder-shrugging, eye-rolling, ‘cheeky’ tone of voice can also lead to ingrained habits of not listening to your or taking your words seriously. Children may not always realise what their actions portray so they do need your guidance. Some books about developing a positive attitude can be found here. As well, talk to your child about how you feel when they use those behaviours. As always with parenting, model what you are trying to teach your child.

Pretending to not hear you

Repeating yourself continually when asking your child to do something, often results in their waiting until the ultimatum comes every time. Tuning out is a form of power play. When you are first dealing with this, don’t ask the child to do something from another room. Make sure you are close to them. Eye contact is good and expecting a response. Appropriate consequences may be needed.

“White” Lies

Sometimes these start quite innocuously but like all poor behaviour can escalate. Children often will fib to get out of trouble, or not do a chore, or to make themselves look better. Honesty is important to develop in your child. Look for why your child has lied, explain the importance of honesty, ensure that your child goes and does what you had asked in the first place.

The Best Children’s Books website has books about developing honesty:  Teaching Honesty

At Angel’s Paradise, we support parents in the social development of their children by encouraging positive attitudes and behaviours.