Behaviour Tips: Tantrums, Hitting, & Relationships

Updated: Aug 30, 2019

July 2, 2019


Positive Parenting Strategy #1 re: Toddlers and Tantrums

· Remember that all behaviours are a form of communication. Every child wants to do well, it is up to us to give them the guidance to learn appropriate social skills.

· Model appropriate behaviour!

· Try to figure out what their unmet need is. Do they need sleep? Affection? Food? Quiet time? Are they bored? Are they feeling ill?

· Talk/communicate with them at a developmentally-appropriate level, that matches their limited language and comprehension abilities.

· Give the child choices to foster their independence and confidence, and accept their choice: “do you want to read before you get into the bath, or after your done your bath?” Follow through.

· Stop and think before saying “no”. Consider if it is something you can say yes to. Sometimes we get into a reflex response of saying “no”. If children hear more “yes’s” they will be better able to accept no for an answer.

· Whenever possible ignore the tantrum behaviour. When the child calms down, praise the child for calming down.

· Do not give into the tantrum; we need to let them get frustrated, get calm, and try again.

· If a child’s tantrums are consistently interrupting your daily life, you should think about seeking some outside help.


Positive Parenting Strategy #2 re: preschooler/adolescent and reducing hitting behaviour

· Model appropriate behaviour by not spanking, ever!

· Rule out a medical issue.

· Keep record of who, what, or when your child is hitting to look for patterns for future prevention. When does the hitting not occur? Knowing this information can create new habits.

· Consider the coping level of the child. Do the demands outweigh their ability to cope with them?

· Rewarding appropriate behaviour (catch them doing something good!), will reduce problem behaviour.

· Be aware of your own reactions. Try to remain neutral when hitting happens e.g.: neutral facial expression. Some parents accidently reinforce inappropriate behaviour by giving the child attention, whether that be positive or negative. A positive and happy reaction to good behaviour will make that behaviour more likely to happen more often!

· Give attention to the “victim” of the hitting in the moment. The child will learn that he/she does not receive attention for the inappropriate behaviour. Talk to the child who hit at a later time when they are calm, and teach them about empathy toward others.

· Last but not least, breathe, you are doing great 😊.


Positive Parenting Strategy #3 re: Youth and building Relationships

· Listen to the Youth without thinking of your own agenda or getting defensive. Get beyond the words to the meaning behind the words.

· Reframe what they are communication e.g.: “what I hear you saying is …….., do I have that right?”

· Remember that they have likely learned the behaviours being displayed.

· Try to say to your teen what you want to say within 3-5 sentences. This will feel like less of a lecture and they will be more likely to open up.

· Be reasonable and consistent when setting limits and with your parenting style. Teens will recognize a change and may try to work the situation to their own advantage. Not because of disrespect towards their caregiver, but because at this age they are craving independence and to be heard and accepted.

· Respect your teen/youth opinions, even when you disagree with them. Their limited life experience has not given them the insights that we gain with more life experience.

· Explain that you are also trying your best, and you are learning together.

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