The child behavior problems and adolescents are often a source of stress for parents, educators, and teachers. There is no better discipline technique than prevention. However, preventing behavior problems requires time and effort.
Although we have not experienced them directly, we are aware that the behaviors and challenging behaviors of children and young people can be a real headache. The good news is that preventing behavior problems is possible.
Preventing behavior problems for children requires time and effort. However, this dedication can be a valuable investment that can save not only a long time in the long term but also favor a much happier and mentally healthy family life.
“Teach children and it will not be necessary to punish men.”
Keys to prevent child behavior problems
Children and youth can present behavior problems for various reasons. Trying to understand what that child is looking for or what motivates that behavior is an important step in preventing behavior problems.
It is also important to analyze, in what circumstances child behavioral problems take place, in order to study to what extent you can act on what reinforces them. In any case, although the needs of each child are different, there are some measures that, in general, can help prevent behavioral problems.
Develop a healthy relationship
Having a healthy relationship with the child or adolescent makes it more likely that he or she will be more motivated to behave well. Children and young people are more likely to follow the rules and behave well if they feel loved and respected.
This healthy relationship necessarily includes the adult providing a lot of positive attention to the child, several times a day. This includes talking to him about all kinds of things (not just serious things), listening to him when he needs to talk about his things, doing fun things and inviting him to be part of things. The stronger the relationship with the child, the more motivated will he be to listen and follow some rules.
Rules and consequences to prevent child behavior problems
The best thing is that the rules are not many and that they are clear and justified. It does not only behave well but also to create a system of values that will give children guidelines that serve as their reference, give them confidence. On the other hand, children should be clear about what is expected of them with these rules.
In addition, the consequences will be established and explained in advance. Regarding this, it is important to have and make clear that the consequences are not revenge or something that is ‘paid’ in exchange for behaving badly. They will have other purposes, such as stimulating reflection or repairing the evil caused.
Teach appropriate behavior
Sometimes, what we consider bad behavior occurs because children do not know what to do in certain circumstances. That is why it is important to analyze what is happening. Is the child nervous? Do not know how to react to a situation that generates stress? Is the situation over?
Once the problem is located, it is important to teach the child to understand and manage their emotions. It is also important to teach him alternative ways of behaving, socially appropriate ways to express himself. On the other hand, remember that when children understand their feelings, they are more likely to have good behavior.
Provide a structure and schedule
Many children who show bad behavior improve when they have a clear and orderly routine, appropriate to their needs and their possibilities. In it, there will be a time of the study, a time of rest, a time to play sports, a sufficient time for meals and free time, as well as sleep schedules that allow you to rest enough.
When children integrate a clear routine in their day to day, they have spaces where they can take the initiative and enjoy the company of adults who trust them. Then it will be easier for them to make up child behavior problems.
Be positive and recognize good things
When a child’s behavior is difficult, the things he does well can be overlooked. However, we must pay attention, reinforcing what we like. It will be a way to educate you, but also to give you references and strengthen your self-esteem.
When something is well done, you have to recognize it and reward it. It is not about giving material rewards. A smile, a hug, a kiss, and a verbal recognition will positively reinforce that behavior and give the child the keys to what is well done.
Ignore negative behavior
This technique is not valid for all cases of bad behavior, but for many; especially for those who rely on attention. It consists of ignoring the behavior that you want to eliminate.
When reacting to negative behavior, many times what is achieved is to reinforce it, since the child wants to attract attention. By ignoring it, the child ends up getting tired.
The problem is that, while it takes effect, the behavior can get worse. That’s why it’s important to stay firm. In any case, it must be applied with care and complement this strategy with subsequent measures (e.g. teaching alternative behaviors)
Limit the use of mobile phones and video games
The abuse of mobile technology and video games can generate aggressive behavior in young people, isolate them from their environment and encourage undesirable behaviors, in addition to general addictive behaviors.
This is a very sensitive issue that should not be left to chance and that parents and educators have to take very seriously. Teach children and youth to use these technologies responsibly should be part of education to prevent not only behavioral problems but many others.
The importance of stress management
Many child behavior problems are due to stress situations. Fatigue, over-stimulation, excessive tasks and responsibilities, lack of exercise and lack of playing time are some of the reasons that cause children to experience stress.
The stress observed in the environment, especially in parents and teachers, also favors children feeling more stressed. In fact, many behavioral problems would be avoided if children grew up in quiet environments, surrounded by adults who knew how to control their impulses and manage their emotions.