In the last post I wrote about ‘What Is Bad Behaviour’.

This post focuses on the strategies to use to keep the stress down to a minimum.  It is all based on a positive attitude and strategy.

Children behave badly for all sorts of reasons.

  • They don’t know or understand the rules.
  • They are copying behaviour of others.
  • Over excitement.
  • They are trying to impress someone.

but the biggest cause of behaving badly is for 









There are many strategies that can be used to help with dealing with bad behaviour but one of the best is to promote positive behaviour.

This isn’t an easy option by any means. Children can be exacerbating and the natural reaction can be negative which leads to more confrontation and stress.  Using positive behaviour strategies isn’t a ‘quick fix’ but a long term remedy which could reduce the number of grey hairs!

Below are some methods and strategies that may help to reduce the stress and lead to a calmer household and no grey!

Steps to success

  • Changing your behaviourtick

One of the first actions that needs to be carry out is changing your own behaviour.  This is so difficult if your natural reaction is to shout or lash out.  If you are going to be successful implementing a positive behaviour method it is crucial that you work at curbing this natural reaction.  Count to ten or five, recite a limerick, anything that stops that immediate reaction.  Then you can deal with the situation calmer, well, at least, less stressed.

  • Rulestick

Set up your own behaviour rules and make sure that anyone else involved with the children are aware of your new approach.  Children thrive on consistency and will mimic adult behaviour so watching the important adults reacting in the same way has a great impact their outlook.

  • Consistencytick

Consistency is absolutely crucial when it comes to any type of behaviour strategy.  Children need to know the rules and that those rules won’t change.  For example, if you have a rule that children do not watch television through mealtimes, don’t give in to this even if their best programme in the whole world is on.  Try not to let the children see you watching and eating or the obvious, ‘but Mummy does it!’ will come back to bite you.  It will take time to implement but children are quick to learn and if they know they can’t make you change your mind, they will soon adapt.

  • Praisetick

This is the big one.  The instant you see your child carrying out one of your rules, praise them.  Not just a little ‘well done’ but go for the Oscar and make them think that their actions were terrific.  This sort of attention will delight them and they will want to receive that attention again.  Don’t worry about ‘winning the Oscar’ every time because eventually the actions will become second nature and the little ‘well done’ will do.  

Close-up portrait of a very angry screaming boyThis strategy can be carried out on young children as well.  If you have a child who screams or cries for attention, the instant they stop the screaming, pick them up and make a fuss.  Sometimes this may be the time between breaths when the screaming stops but they will get the hang of this and it does work, believe me.

Praising a child gives them a feeling of self-worth and raises their self-esteem.  Positive behaviour strategies work on the basis of ‘catch them being good’.  If they are being good, let them know and do it with a smile.

  • Understandingtick

Make sure the children understand what it is you want from them.  Explain this in language that they understand.  If necessary use pictures or prompts to help them.  If children aren’t completely sure of the rules they can’t stick to them.

  • Choicetick

Giving children a choice is powerful.  

“Are you going to tidy your bedroom before or after you have your dinner?”

“Would you like peas or carrots with your dinner?”

Children like to feel as if they have some control over a situation and giving them a choice helps with this.  You know this has worked when they begin using the same strategy.  Listening to one of my children saying:
“Nanny, would you like to buy me the remote control car or the remote control helicopter?”  

This nonplussed Nanny!

  • Face to Facetick

How many times have you sat on the couch and shouted some instructions; stop that, get out of there, what do you think you are doing?.  Getting off the couch and having the face to face conversation will work much quicker and with less stress.  I realise that getting off the couch can be difficult, especially after a long day at work but it will have a better result.  Think of it as a bit of exercise!

  • Ownershiptick

Giving older children the opportunity to contribute to making the rules will make them feel valued and give them ownership of the rules.  

Final Word

All children need attention and if they don’t get it they will resort to any method to get it.  Including being naughty.  In the end it doesn’t matter what type of attention they receive as long receive it.

Have you tried this method?  What were the results?

Click here to read the third post in this series.