Frazzled parents can sometimes be lost for words or pushed to shout back at a child who is angry and shouting at them. Remaining patient and helping them through a meltdown can feel hugely challenging.

If you are struggling to cope with bad behaviour including tantrums, hitting or negativity around the home, we’ve gathered some advice together that may help:

It’s not a personal attack
Behavioural experts would suggest that a starting point for parents is remembering not to take a child’s bad behaviour personally – your child is not “acting up” to “get at you”. Psychology tells us that a misbehaving child is being defiant, angry or hitting out not to hurt you but because they are dealing with struggles of their own at that point in time.

Avoiding lecture mode
Defensiveness in children (and adults) can often be a result of feeling judged and criticised we’re told, so trying to temper your words when your child is behaving badly is a positive first step. Getting to the bottom of what is really upsetting your child can defuse a loud and angry situation and it’s said to help parents to become closer to their children in the longer term.

Next time you are struggling to cope with bad behaviour, why not experiment with asking the question: “Can you help me understand why you seem upset?”

Quick tips overview:
– Offer lots of praise for your child’s good behaviour
– Say sorry if you have shouted – it will teach them to follow your lead
– Rest, de-stress and relax whenever you can!

The organisation Family Lives offers in-depth advice to support parents, here – https://www.familylives.org.uk/advice/primary/behaviour/challenging-behaviour/

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