Tips To Change Children’s Behavior
Parents and teachers often regard normal behavior that interferes with the efficient running of the home or school as problem behavior. When they do this, they are likely to develop in the child unfavourable attitudes toward them and toward the situation in which the behavior occurs. The result is that many children then develop real problem behavior, such as lying, sneakiness, or destructiveness, as a way of getting their revenge.
Most forms of real problem behavior are normal for a younger age. A child may cling to immature behavior because he has not yet learned to meet his needs in a more mature manner or because he derives less satisfaction from mature behavior. A child who reverts to infantile behavior when he is jealous derives satisfaction from the attention his helplessness brings. If he persists in this pattern, it is symptomatic of some disturbance in his social relationships and may be regarded as true problem behavior. Stealing, for example, will be tolerated in preschool children, but in an older child or adolescent it will be regarded as “delinquent” behavior.
The fact that certain forms of behavior are normal for certain ages does not make them acceptable. Nor does it mean that they should be tolerated without any effort to change them. If a child is capable of learning to say “No,” he is also capable of learning to say “Thank you.” If he has enough muscle coordination to grab another child’s toys, he has enough muscle coordination to offer the child one of his own toys in exchange.
Naturally, one cannot expect a child to behave like an adult, but one expect him to learn more and more adult-approved behavior patterns each year. If he does, the unacceptable behavior will gradually be replaced by acceptable behavior. No form of problem behavior should be overlooked on the ground that it is ‘typical” and that the child will outgrow it. He may but the chances are just as great that he will not. If it is overlooked, the child is likely to assume that it is acceptable. behavior that is not typically found at the child’s age or maturity level is a danger signal of possible future trouble. As such, it should be remedied before it has developed into a habitual method of adjustment