How To Prevent Behavior Problems

June 6, 2009

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None of us wants to punish when we can prevent. When I got this article, I thought it had some great tips and decided to publish it here. Several of these points I’ve also written about, and I linked to those posts in the article.

Heather & Joseph swimming_0717
Creative Commons License photo credit: hoyasmeg

12 Ways to Prevent Behavior Problems Before They Start

By Cynthia A Frosch, Ph.D.

1. Don’t hit. Teach gentle hands by using gentle hands.

2. Recognize and respect that you child has his own unique perspective, needs, and desires

3. Find a way to say YES.  Think carefully about your reasons for saying no. Control? Not wanting to deal? Think of the possibilities of saying yes to your child. Yes, you can wear socks that don’t match; yes, you can have a friend over; yes, I’ll play with you when I’m finished with the dishes.

4. Tell your child what he can do. Dogs are for petting. Balls are for throwing. Food is for eating. Mommy is for cuddling. Teethers are for biting.

5. Take care of yourself and know your triggers and needs. When are you most likely to react? How can you shift your perspective?

6. Strive for a balanced lifestyle—rest, nourishment, fun, exercise

7. Choose quality child care. Whether for an hour a week or for eight hours a day, the quality of child care matters.

8. Teach your child to take a break and breathe deeply.

9. Provide ways for your child to feel and release intense emotions like jumping up and down, hitting pillows, or pounding the bed.

10. Offer controlled choices when necessary—you can play for 0, 1, or 2 more minutes! What’s your choice? Use a timer or clock.

11. Use water. When things are getting a little intense, try a bath for you, your child (or you and your child!). Fillthe sink, a bucket, or a water table and allow your child to play or “wash” dishes or toys.

12. Become a more sensitive, responsive parent or caregiver. Get READY.

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