Nikoleta Yoncheva /speech therapist/ and Stefka Tsvetanova /psychologist/
Trainers at Karin Dom Foundation
Angry, sad, helpless, confused, all of these feelings are probably familiar to you when your child is yelling, biting, pinching, hitting, throwing, and often despite your attempts it is difficult for you to cope with the situation. If you recognize yourself in the above, or just want to hear a few fresh but proven ideas for supporting your kids’ good behavior, then this article is for you. The article will focus on children at the age between 2 and 7, as in early childhood and with rapid development, children learn models of behaviors that become persistent over time.
Challenging behavior is most often manifested by hitting, biting, screaming, pulling hair, crying, pinching, door slamming, etc. This is the so-called form of behavior. These behaviors occur more often in case of a change for the child – when he becomes ill, feels exhausted, something hurts, is not fed, is difficult to handle a task, has a desire to prove himself, experiences some kind of stress, or something in the environment annoys him /like light, noise, etc./ It is important to distinguish which behaviors are dangerous for the life and health of the child and the others and which ones are not.
Dangerous behaviors include: hitting his head in the wall / floor; hitting, kicking, or throwing heavy objects.
It is not dangerous when he bites himself or others, but without using teeth and injuring; kicking the tower of plastic cubes of another child; crying, whining, etc.
It is important for us as parents to know that inappropriate behavior can have the same manifestation /form/, but behind it there may be a different purpose or function: a communicative function /the child wants to tell us something but does not know how/; attracting our attention /while mom is working, and the child wants to play, even if we scold him – sometimes a goal is achieved/; boredom /no interesting activity for the child at the moment, or not involved in an activity/; habit /scratching the nose, playing with hair, etc./; a desire for control /I want to impose rules/ or sensory issues /generally, there is a change in the sensing of touch or the perception of sound and light/.
Any behavior can be provoked and exhibited depending on the situation and the reaction of the people towards it.
Imagine the following situation: father and daughter go to the store. The child is calm. Upon entering the store, the child notices a toy stand and specifically baby cry dolls, so she wants a doll /slip/. Daddy ignores her and pulls her forward. The girl becomes angry because Daddy has pulled her over and she wants the dolls. Daddy says “I will not pick up dolls”, the child begins to pull away /escalate/. Daddy has already shopped, pays at the cash register and tells his daughter, “Get in the car!” The child lies down on the floor and starts screaming her whole throat, shaking, kicking… Father picks her up, gives her a favourite thing, like the phone, and gradually the behavior re-escalates.
In order to cope with behaviors, we must try not to allow them reach their peak. This can be done with the following strategies:
In this article, we tried to introduce you to some of the most common situations in everyday life, as well as some of the most effective strategies. Our team is always there to support families and professionals.
We have a message for you: “When a child cannot speak – we teach him to speak. When he can’t ride a bike – we teach him how to pedal and look ahead. When he can’t read – teach him the letters, etc. When he has inappropriate behavior or doesn’t know how to behave and express himself – help him, teach him how to handle it. You are with your children every day, and now even more than ever. They follow your example and you are the best teacher for them. The punishment would lead to nothing positive. As a result of punishment, children begin to hide their emotions, to become frustrated more often, to feel misunderstood or bad, to feel fear. So be positive, give strength and direction, and you will have smiling, motivated and trusting in you and in themselves children who can handle more difficult choices and situations in life in the future.
Строим новия терапевтичен и образователен комплекс във Варна