Quick fixes to childhood behavior problems
- Article by: DR. GREGORY RAMEY
- Dayton Daily News
- April 7, 2012 - 1:28 PM
Many parents need help for their children, but don't want to meet with a child psychologist. They want a solution that is quick, easy and cheap. Maybe the parents are right, because most behavior problems can be solved using five simple steps:
1. Carefully and specifically define the problem. Avoid global descriptions of attitude or personality and focus instead on a specific behavior. Don't try to fix your child's "stubbornness" or "laziness." Think instead of what exactly you want your child to do differently -- clean his room twice a week, stop swearing or stop fighting with his sister.
2. Involve your child in the discussions. Kids are more apt to adapt to change if they feel involved in the process. Talk with your children about the problem and tell them you want their viewpoint before any decisions are made.
3. Set modest goals. Many parents want chronic habits that developed over years to change in a few days. Focus instead on one modest goal that you can achieve, such as eating at the dinner table without saying anything negative.
4. Consistently do something different. Develop an approach that is unlike what you've done in the past. Consider various reward systems to encourage your child's behavior. Praise your youngster if he or she is making progress toward that goal. Here is the most important advice you are going to read in this article: Be consistent. Consistency in implementing consequences is one of the most common traits of effective parents.
5. Keep records. Use charts to help monitor your child's progress. Use that information to praise success or discuss unanticipated situations. The value of such monitoring is that it leads to focused attention for you and your child. It helps you become mindful of the problem and lets your child see his or her progress.
This should take care of 80 percent of childhood problems. For the other 20 percent, don't be reluctant to contact someone like a child psychologist.
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