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How to Address Challenging Behaviors in Children

We know that having healthy childhoods includes developing healthy social and emotional skills, which can lead to healthy behaviors. However, all children will showcase some behaviors that are not ideal, which is a part of growing up. Knowing what to do if your child is showing challenging behaviors starts with understanding what is typical versus not typical.

Typical Challenging Behaviors Based on the Child’s Age

In parenting, there are many strategies to help teach desired behaviors. Here are some strategies that can help prevent the typical challenging behaviors.

  1. Practice – Create teachable moments after the behavior is shown. In a calm manner, show your child what you want them to do and practice!

  2. Praise –Aim for the 90:10 rule – praise should be given out 90 percent of the time and limit-setting or discipline should be only 10 percent of the time. When you catch your child doing something good, reinforce that behavior with positive praise.

  3. Persist – Remain consistent in your rules and routines. Children flourish when they know what to expect and what goals to meet. By being consistent and predictable, you and your child can know what is expected.

Challenging Behaviors That Are Not Typical or Healthy

  • Self-injury or causing harm to others

  • Aggressive actions like choking, biting, hitting and throwing

  • Causing disruptions in the classroom like talking out of turn, arguing, or making threats

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