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  • 3/7/2011

How to Handle Unruly Children



Set clear boundaries and stick to them. Your child needs to know the exact behavior expected of him. Child experts tell us that children actually want boundaries and that once firmly established; most children will respect the rules.


Make very few threats but carry through on those you do make. It's easy to warn a child that he'll go to bed without supper if he doesn't clean his room but when you give in and feed him, you're sending the message that you don't really mean what you say. If you aren't ready to make good on a threat, just don't make it.


Spend time with your child. You don't have to plan activities for every minute of the day, just taking your child along when you run errands or allowing him to do his homework at the kitchen table while you cook creates a feeling of togetherness and may reduce unruly behavior that stems from insecurity.


Set reasonable punishments that get results. All children are different and one child may respond quickly if the punishment is grounding while another might need his allowance reduced. Avoid using chores as a punishment. Children should do chores without pay as part of being in a family.


Reward your child's good behavior. Positive reinforcement of carries a strong message to your child. Children who receive praise for good acts try harder to behave.


Schedule your child's time to help her develop responsibility. Children who misbehave often have too much idle time on their hands. Until your child can behave appropriately by herself, reduce her free time and fill her hours with activities, sports, errands or study work.


Visit your pediatrician if you think your child's unruly behavior stems from a psychological problem. Children with Attention Deficit Disorder and other behavioral conditions may need medication or diet changes to help them function responsibly.

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