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How not to make a child’s bad behavior worse

Anger and disobedience are normal reactions of a person when they feel threatened or fearful. This reaction is natural for both adults and children, regardless of whether the threat is real and comes from the outside world or is inside us (for example, when we are deeply upset, confused, feel grief or frustration). Anger or disobedience can ease the feeling of powerlessness and relieve pain for a while.

Young children are not yet able to cope with disappointments, as they do not possess the necessary skills for this. Their psyche is not yet sufficiently developed so that they can see the real causes of their disorders. They cannot calm themselves and regulate their reactions. Punishing a child for bad behavior in such cases is not only unfair, but also unproductive. From this he feels even more impotence and anger.

But, if punishment only reinforces the child’s bad behavior, how to cope with his bad behavior? What can be done if the child shows anger or disobedience?

1. Be fully present in the situation, keep calm, show sympathy. Remember: an angry or naughty child is suffering. He feels threatened. Even if you want to yell at a child or punish him, hold back. Do not allow yourself to show uncontrollable emotions due to his bad behavior. If you punish or scream at the child, he will feel even more fear, and the likelihood of his bad behavior in the future will only increase. Instead, act like an adult: take a deep breath and accept the negative emotions of your child. So you will show him an example of how to deal with complex feelings. Over time, the child will learn to calm down on his own.

2. Recognize the cause of anger in the child. Tell the child calmly that you understand why he is upset (it doesn’t matter if the reason for his anger is reasonable). So he will feel safe and learn to better understand the reasons for his anger. It can be sadness due to a broken toy, resentment of someone saying a rude word to him or fear of school hooligans.

3. Make it clear to the child that there are no “right” and “wrong” emotions. All emotions are permissible. Even anger, envy, hopelessness, sadness and other emotions that are considered to be “bad” are honest and real. Do not tell your child to calm down or act in a certain way. Instead, accept his feelings and be thankful that he trusts you so much that he shares his feelings. Your acceptance will help the child and himself to accept his feelings instead of suppressing them (after all, this never leads to anything good).

4. Explain to the child that he should not take any action under the influence of anger. Do not let your child throw things, bite or hit anyone, including parents. If your child does just that, you must set limits for him and thereby teach him to control his anger. You can tell the child: “You can be angry as much as you like, but I won’t let you beat me or anyone else. My task is to both of us be safe. You can tell me what you’re angry at without harming me. ”

5. Keep intimacy and emotional connection with the child. An angry or naughty child is afraid. He needs a calm, strong adult to feel safe and to understand what to do next. Instead of putting the child in a corner or making him spend some time in his room, stay close and keep an emotional connection with him.

6. Role the situation. Swap roles with the child: induce the angry child or those who provoked his anger. Feel free to exaggerate emotions during the game. You can also use props or costumes. This will cause a child to laugh, and so he will quickly find a creative solution to the problem, because he will feel that you hear and understand him.

7. Make a list of useful things with your child that will help him deal with his anger. It can be several minutes of deep breathing, listening to music, dancing, etc. To calm down, a child may need to go to a calm place, count to ten, go outside and run a little, do what he likes, draw a picture in which to express his anger, shout at a soft toy, etc.

8. Teach your child to notice warning signs that can lead to a flash of anger. This will help the child calm down in time and prevent the emergence of negative emotions. Prevention should be carried out for young children: make sure that your child receives a balanced diet, has enough time to sleep and physical activity, receives enough hugs from you throughout the day. As a child grows up, help him understand how anger begins and what leads to it. Along with this, the child should be taught methods that will help him calm down.

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