Three Effective Responses for Problem Behaviors
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“It feels like complete chaos!” one mother shared, “Just as I think there’s a break in the action, one of them hits the other, one’s trying to ride the dog, and another is screeching at the top of her lungs.”
Parenting little ones is not for the faint of heart. That’s why it’s important to keep our approach simple, action oriented, and consistent.
Simple strategies are almost always more effective than complicated ones. Much of the time parents of young children can rely on just three practical responses to problem behaviors. Whether the infraction involves hitting, biting, screaming, grabbing, trying to escape from the store, running in the parking lot, or any other unwelcome behavior, we can fall back on doing one of three things:
1.   Change our location
2.   Change the location of the problem object
3.   Change the child’s location
Action-oriented strategies involve calmly doing things rather than saying things. This means that we change our location—walking away from a child who is screaming, trying to rip the pages of a book we are reading them, or hitting us. Doing this we clearly communicate that gaining our attention is best achieved through kinder behavior.
Sometimes this means changing the location of a problem object, calmly removing something they are misusing or fighting over.
Other times we calmly change their location, buckle them into their stroller, place them in their playpen, or expect them to remain in their room until they can act civil.
Consistent means that we quickly yet calmly take action, each and every time there’s a problem. Overthinking their misbehavior and how we should respond contributes to delay and indecisiveness. Delay and indecisiveness create more conflict and chaos.
When a nasty behavior emerges, great parents move quickly, confidently, and compassionately. It’s not about being mean. It’s about proving to our little ones that we are more than capable of providing the leadership they need.
Study our book, Love and Logic Magic® for Early Childhood, to fine-tune your approach. You won’t regret it.
Charles Fay, Ph.D. - BiographyThanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Dr. Charles Fay


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