Does your young child's behavior ever overwhelm you? If it does, know that you're not alone! Here are 6 tips for handling their unruly behaviors:

  1. Teach him what he's feeling. This is especially good for young children with a limited vocabulary. When you can see that your child is frustrated about not being allowed a cookie before dinner (or something else that would be frustrating), explain to him that this is frustration (after he/she has worked through the tantrum of course). Or maybe he is sad about missing out on a birthday party. Whatever the feeling is, explaining it to him will help with understanding feelings and being comfortable having them. If your child is never told about feelings, how will he know how to explain to you what he is feeling?

  2. Follow through. If you warn your child about timeout, follow through with it. This is a classic mistake almost every parent makes and it can lead to your child not listening to you, and poor behavior. So, if she is breaking a rule that warrants a natural consequence, follow through. This will also teach her boundaries.

  3. Avoid using physical force. Have you ever heard the term, "Monkey see, monkey do"? Well it's true for children too. If you poke, push, slap or strike your child when your are bothered by his behavior, this teaches him to do the same when he is upset. Violence begets violence, the research is clear: http://nospank.net/hyman2.htm

  4. Encourage good/positive behavior. Children, just like adults love being recognized for positivity. So when your child is doing something positive, be sure to acknowledge it. By acknowledging it with positivity, she will want to engage in more positive behaviors. This can also prevent her from negative behaviors in the future. Try to catch your child doing something right instead of something wrong.

  5. Use "now and then" reasoning. If your child wants to play a video game, but you want him to play outside, consider comprising. Tell him that if he plays outside now, then later he can engage in some video games. This gives your child the choice. He can play the video game, but only if he plays outside first. If he decides not to play outside, then no video games. This works in almost every scenario, try it!

  6. Put your child on a schedule. A lot of behavior problems come from a child's lack of a routine; getting up and going to bed at different times every day, eating meals at different times, etc. Putting your child on a schedule will greatly help with some behavioral issues. Believe it or not, children want a routine, whether they know it or not.