When you have a child who is displaying tricky behaviour that causes you stress and anxiety, it is perfectly understandable to want to keep your child away from others for fear of a public tantrum! Every parent dreads the idea of their child doing this, particularly in public, and often it seems that the only answer is to not do things that involve other people.
Challenging behaviour can usually be explained
If your child’s behaviour has recently changed it is worthwhile going back over the last few weeks or months to try and pinpoint when and why these changes happened. When you have established a pattern of behaviour you can begin to unravel what has happened and try to find a solution. Although it may seem easier to keep a challenging child away from other children, by interacting with others, children often change their behaviour and therefore this can be a good thing.
Other people’s opinions
Dealing with what other people think of you and your child is only part of the problem you may face if you are trying to promote positive behaviour, and it can be very hard to accept that other people have strong opinions not only about your child’s behaviour, but about your parenting skills. If you have good friends, they will understand what you are trying to do and will not be phased by your child’s behaviour. Other people who do not know you so well cannot really be expected to understand what you are trying to cope with so try not to pay too much attention to negative comments. Instead concentrate on rewarding your child for good behaviour.
Involving your child in play dates or other activities with children can be a good way to diffuse difficult behaviour, as well as giving you a chance to relax – even if only for a short time. You may also find that as well as giving your child a change of scene and a few new friends, you may also find that you will gain valuable friends and advice from parents who may be experiencing the same sort of problems that you are dealing with.
A support network can work for your child as well as you. Promoting positive behaviour by encouraging your child to interact with others is a way for your child to expand their mind, improve their social skills and abilities and learn new things. You may find that a new interest that is nurtured through a friendship could have a very positive effect on their behaviour. If your child has something really good to look forward to once or twice a week this is great leverage for good behaviour! Start using a star or reward chart at home to encourage good behaviour and remind them they are going to have lots of fun with their friends in a couple of days, but that they must be really good in the meantime. If it is something that really grabs them and that they want to get involved with on a regular basis, you will soon start to see a shift in their behaviour patterns.