Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to Deal With a Bad Tempered Child

 Even the happiest of children have their moments of bad behavior. Outbursts can range from loud temper tantrums to silent treatment, and even to hitting, scratching and biting. How you deal with this type of behavior is different than how you might deal with a child who shows the above listed signs of bad behavior on a more regular basis. If your child falls into the latter category by showcasing a general angry disposition, consider working with him to improve his attitude and outlook on life.


Pinpoint the cause of the bad temper. In some children, bad tempers, and bad behavior, can signify any number of things including physical and emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, the presence of an unhealthy role model, extended spoiling, hunger or thirst, and being overtired. Take note of every time your child acts out, writing down the events that transpire leading up to the bad temper.

Take action. After you have determined what is causing your child's bad behavior, act upon it. A child's bad behavior is typically in direct response to one of the causes in Step 1, and if you can show the child that you as the adult are stepping in to help him handle the situation, it will help him feel safe and relaxed.

Model good behavior. If your child sees you constantly exhibiting an upbeat personality, watches you rolling with the punches, and taking things in stride, it will help him to see how he should act as well. You may even point out to him times when you could have overreacted, and share with him how you kept your cool.

Talk to your child. Choose a time when he is relaxed to ask him if he knows what makes him so quick to choose anger as his emotion in upsetting situations. If your child is too young to vocalize what exactly is upsetting him, try doing some "play therapy" with him: lay out some toys, and guide him in acting out a scene where he might express anger in real life. He may unknowingly give you some insight into what is causing his reactions.

Provide guidance. When you talk to your child about his behavior, give him some tips on how he might react in stressful situations. Help him to identify when his temper is beginning to worsen, and tell him that when he begins to feel upset he can leave the scene and go to a place that makes him feel calm, channel his frustration into an art project, use self-talk to calm himself, or count to ten as he takes deep breaths.

Keep at it. It takes time to make such big changes in a child's attitude. Consistency is key.

By Danielle Hamill



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