Whether your child ignores you when you tell her to pick up her toys or says, “No!” when you tell her to stop banging her toy on the floor, defiance is difficult behavior to address. But, it’s normal for kids to test limits at one time or another.
When your child is defiant, offer a single if…then warning. Say, “If you don’t pick up your toys right now, then you won’t be able to go watch TV tonight.”
If your child doesn’t comply after the warning, follow through with a consequence. With consistency, your child will learn to listen the first time you speak.
2. Too Much Screen Time
Another common child behavior problem is constantly trying to be connected to digital devices. Whether your child screams when you tell her to shut off the TV or she plays a game on your phone whenever you’re not looking, too much screen isn’t healthy.
Establish clear rules for screen time. If your child becomes too dependent on electronics for entertainment, dial back the screen time even more.
Take away electronics when your child breaks the rules and be a healthy role model. Consider establishing a family-wide digital detox every once in a while to ensure that everyone is able to function without their device
3. Playing Too Rough
You know that you have to step in when your child punches a playmate, but you shouldn’t disregard more subtle aggressive acts, like shoving his brother or pinching a friend. If you don’t intervene, rough behavior can become an entrenched habit by age 8. Plus, it sends a message that hurting people is acceptable.
Confront aggressive behavior on the spot. Pull your child aside and tell him, “That hurts. How would it feel if she did that to you?” Let him know that any action that hurts another person is not allowed. Before his next playdate, remind him that he shouldn’t play rough, and help him practice what he can say if he gets angry or wants a turn. If he does it again, end the playdate.
4. Blaming Others
When your child misbehaves, are they quick to blame others? It’s normal for children to want to avoid getting in trouble, but this will be much more noticeable. What you are looking for here is a consistent lack of responsibility and a refusal to own up to their own mistakes.
There are three main reasons kids lie; to get attention, to avoid getting in trouble, and to feel better about themselves. Distinguishing the reason for the lie can help you determine the best course of action.
When you catch your child in a lie, ask, “Is that what really happened or what you wish would have happened?” Give your child an extra consequence for lying.
Emphasize the importance of honesty by creating a household rule that says, “Tell the truth.”
Praise your child when she tells the truth—especially when the truth could get her in trouble. Say something like, “I’m so proud of you for being honest about eating that cupcake after I said no. I’m still going to take away your video games today but because you told the truth you won’t lose your game for tomorrow too.”