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Children’s Behavior: How to manage in 2018

Controlling Your Child’s Behavior: Parenting Tips for 2018

By David A. Morris, LCSW

children's-behavior_new directions counselingIt’s 2018 and managing our children’s behavior is more important than ever. The influence of social media is intense. The spectacle of YouTube is enticing. The immediacy of the phone is addicting.

More than ever, our children need clear guidance on how to manage their behavior in the home, in the classroom and in public. Parents often share their grievances in family or individual therapy. “I don’t know how to reduce their screen time.” “I can’t compete with the lore of the iPad.” “They just don’t listen to me anymore.”

What are some areas of concern to be aware of before deciding to make change? As you will see, many of the traits listed below are often present in toddlers or pre-schoolers but as their development progresses, you should see a significant reduction in the intensity and frequency of these behaviors.


Here are a few children’s behaviors to be wary of:

  • Sulking or Pouting – a demonstration of frustration that doesn’t lead to action
  • Isolation – leaving the area when a direction has been given or they were denied something of interest
  • Procrastination – looking for opportunities to NOT do what has been asked of them
  • Making excuses – rattling off of reasons why they shouldn’t listen
  • Comparing with other parents – references to other families and their permissiveness
  • Complete Ignoring – it’s as if they were playing all alone


To get started, try these three tips for increasing the desired children’s behavior in your home:

  1. Catch Them Being Good – Effective praise and attention can turn defiance into an openness to doing what is asked. Be specific about the compliment while getting on their level. This includes walking to the room they are in, kneeling or crouching down, and speaking direct. “I really liked the way you said ‘OK’ when I asked you to clean your room”.
  2. Provide Effective Direct Commands – Be aware of your tone and body language when giving a command. Be firm but keep your body language neutral. Use their name and provide only one direction at a time. When giving a correction, rather than stating what you don’t want to see “Stop doing that!”, rephrase what you do want to see “Try a kinder word please.”
  3. Develop Universal House Rules – Create universal rules centered on safety, respect, and cooperation. Depending on your children’s age, engage them in the house rules. Have them develop ideas on their own and what the punishments and rewards might be. The more empowered they feel, the more likely they will comply.

If you are interested in additional information and support, contact one of our family/child therapists to schedule an appointment. They have a wealth of knowledge, experience and most importantly empathy for your children’s behavior. Call us today 724.934.3905