12 Principles To Deal With Inappropriate Behaviour: Part 2

12 Principles To Deal With Inappropriate Behaviour: Part 2

In part 1 of this series 12 Principles To Deal With Inappropriate Behaviour: Part 1  we covered the first four tools that you can use to help you when coping with children’s inappropriate behaviour.

In part 2 we are going to look at the next four you can add to your toolkit which will help both you and your child through these sometimes trying times.

So, can you remember the first four steps to dealing with inappropriate behaviour that we discussed in part 1? 


  1. Managing Your State and being aware of how you are feeling and acting before managing your child’s behaviour.
  2. Rules and Rewards, talking about the importance of having clear rules and ensuring everyone is following the same ones!
  3. Having a Helicopter View and seeing the bigger picture.
  4. The Broken Record Technique and repeating the same request, staying calm and acknowledging your child’s distress.

5. Be Positive and Descriptive

It has happened to us all at some point in our life. Where someone is trying hard to tell us what they want, repeating the request several times and we still can’t quite understand what it is they need from us. Usually the reason behind this is that we do not have enough understanding of the task in question and perhaps we aren’t capable of it, or, the person giving the request isn’t making themselves very clear.

THINKING POINT: This is no different for children. Have you ever stopped to think if you are making yourself clear to your child? Are you over complicating the request and giving them mixed messages?

It is important to say exactly what you want your child to do by breaking down the behaviours into component parts. Also to model the behaviours we would like our children to follow ourselves, for example not saying “We don’t have screens at the table” and then using your phone!.

Some tips to follow:

  1. Say your child’s name first (this will engage them)
  2. State your request
  3. Thank your child (By saying thank you even if they haven’t carried out your request, it conveys the expectation that they will.)

6. Reinforce Positive Behaviour

Positive reinforcement is crucial to help children feel good about the choices that they make.  If they receive nice comments this will then also further motivate them to continue these behaviours in order to continue to receive them.

Ways You Can Reinforce Positive Behaviour

  • Say thank you or well done
  • Give descriptive and specific praise for example “I really like the way you tidied up all your toys into your toy box, thank you!”
  • Smile
  • Give non-verbal signs – a cuddle, a thumbs up or high five for example

Why is it important?

  • Positive reinforcement is a simple way of encouraging your child and will help them with feelings of self-worth.
  • The more is happens, the more children will strive to achieve it – children naturally like to please!
  • It can help with the child’s decision making – positive reinforcement can make the child feel more motivated to make good decisions in order to receive the praise.
  • It can help children develop their characters in a more positive way. Children who are motivated by being good and receiving praise tend to self-monitor and recognise their behaviour more than children who are motivated by fear of punishment.

7. Choose Your Battles

You know the face, the one where out the corner of your eye they are looking to see if you are watching, waiting for you to watch them so they can carry out the ‘inappropriate’ behaviour.  They can be tricky, and will often look for a reaction.

Where you can, ignore these behaviours! Sometimes they are specifically designed to gain negative attention and are commonly referred to as ‘testing the boundaries’. When they stop and engage in the desired behaviours, it helps to respond immediately.

8.  Offer the Illusion of Choice

Children don’t like to be told what to do, and it is important that they are given a choice.  It doesn’t always have to matter what their choice is “Would you like an apple or a pear?” but it is important that they feel they are given a real choice whilst learning about decision making and also the cause and effects of such decisions.

The same concept can be used for behaviour. Imagine your child wants to play his computer game, despite it being dinnertime. You may say, ‘You can come and have dinner now or lose five minutes of your computer time.’ Not choosing either is not a choice.

By giving your child a choice, it allows them to save face by deciding for themselves, thus defusing any anger. Give your child a moment of ‘thinking’ time, and then praise them for making the right decision.

Next week we will cover the last 4 tools you can add to your arsenal and we hope that by thinking about how you can use these techniques with your child, you will feel more confident to start implementing them and seeing more positive results.

You can read about all 12 techniques, and learn more about understanding your child’s behaviour in my Best Selling book, “Your Happy Child, 10 Proven Steps To Raising A Happy Child” – click here to buy your copy on Amazon or if you want a signed copy you can order directly from my website.

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