Parents need to work together on child s behavioral issues

  • November 30, 2012 - 12:54 PM

Many parents expect quick solutions to complex problems. They get frustrated if the wait for fast food is more than a few moments and expect an immediate response to text messages. Correcting bad behavior in your child that has developed over years won't typically be resolved in a few weeks. Even so, significant progress can be made when parents and therapists do the following:

Clearly define the problem. Parents should avoid global descriptions of inappropriate behavior and carefully define specific areas of concern. "Poor school performance" gets replaced by non-completion of homework. "Poor attitude" becomes defined as sarcastic comments during dinner. It's not just "aggressive behavior" but rather the number of times a child hits his younger brother.

Focus on a few issues. Once a problem becomes clearly and specifically defined, it's easier for parents to focus their attention and energy. Many parents feel overwhelmed, frustrated and incompetent in managing their kids' problems. These are usually good parents with wonderful intentions, but they get emotionally exhausted by their kids' relentlessly bad behavior. Parents should focus their energy on changing one troublesome behavior rather than complain about their child's overall problems.

Consistently follow through. Do not fall back on "I was too busy this week," or "Something came up and I wasn't able to."

Strong involvement by those raising the child. Whether it's both parents, or a live-in companion or grandparent, those actively involved in raising your child need to work together.


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