Being a parent can be challenging at times. Understanding your child’s needs and struggles isn’t always straightforward and for many parents figuring out the best way to react and support your children is a case of learning on the job.
While your child exhibiting difficult behaviour patterns can feel overwhelming, there are ways you can better identify what is causing the behaviour in the first place, and ways of dealing with challenging behaviour that can help both you and your child to cope better in the future.
We want to support parents on their path to harmonious parenting, so we thought we’d jump into some of the key challenges parents face, and a few proven methods for overcoming them and moving forward in a positive way.
When your young child throws a tantrum, it can be just as overwhelming for you as it is for them. It can be especially difficult if you’re in a public place and you feel like people around you are judging your parenting abilities.
Many parents often think that their children are throwing tantrums as a means of manipulating them into getting their own way, and old and outdated parenting advice supported this theory and advised parents to simply ignore the child and let them cry it out.
However, we now know much more about children’s development than we did a few generations ago, and modern science has proven that this is not the case when it comes to young toddlers – your child is simply communicating the only way they know how at that stage of their development.
In fact, at such a young age, children’s brains have actually not developed enough for them to be capable of reasoning or manipulation. When your toddler has a meltdown, all they are trying to tell you is that they are in distress and they need your help.
While it may be difficult to deal with a child who is crying, kicking or throwing themself on the floor, what they really need from you is comfort and help. Speak to them calmly and comfort them until they calm down, and try to identify what was happening before the tantrum started.
In older children, throwing a tantrum can often be the result of feeling that they are being treated unfairly, or poor emotional control. Try to react empathetically, and help them to learn how to express their emotions more appropriately in a constructive manner, rather than dishing out punishments that may make the problem worse.
It’s important to understand the reason behind your child’s behaviour, as there are so many potential causes, from sensory issues to anxiety.
It can be super frustrating as a parent when your child simply ignores you or zones out when you are asking them to do something. Getting them to cooperate can be frustrating, as often they don’t see the thing you’re asking of them as a high priority.
While many frustrated parents often turn to tactics such as raising their voice, counting down, and threatening punishments, this is generally counterproductive, and definitely does not inspire children to cooperate.
Instead, if you find that your child is not listening to you when you ask them to do something, think about whether you could reframe the request. Instead of simply telling them what to do and barking orders, speak calmly, and tell them what you would like help with.
Children want to please those with whom they have a strong bond and a good relationship, so work on nurturing your relationship, and treating them with respect. Offer praise when they do help out, and work together as a team so they can see it as an opportunity to bond, rather than a demand placed upon them.
Allowing your child to learn about consequences
Without a doubt one of the most difficult parts of parenting is trying to resist that natural urge to protect your child from everything just enough to allow them to learn important lessons about consequences.
Your child cannot learn about his or her poor choices having consequences if you remove those consequences to avoid them experiencing pain, but that doesn’t make it any easier to take a step back and let things play out.
As humans, we all learn through trial and error, and changes in behaviour are born out of struggling and failing.
This is true both in terms of how your child handles themselves in social situations, and even learning new skills. By handling everything for them, you aren’t allowing them to learn how to do so themselves.
Instead, when things do go wrong, you can offer comfort and let your child know that you are there for them. Discuss how things could be done better and offer guidance, but let your child handle the doing by themself.
We hope this has given you a little bit of guidance on how to navigate some of the tricker parenting situations we all face as parents. Be sure to check out our range of doll’s prams and pushchairs to find the perfect toy for your little one and their imagination!