By Jan Baumel, M.S.
Are there times when your child seems to willfully defy you? Do you receive frequent notes or phone calls from school about those same behaviors? Out of frustration, do you find yourself raising your voice or saying things you later regret?
Behavior is a way of communicating with others. It can be aimed at getting something, such as your attention or a snack. You may have experienced this when you're talking on the phone and your child just has to speak to you. Behavior may also be designed to help him escape doing something that's really hard or would keep him from having fun. You may have noticed this when you ask him to do his chores, but he'd rather play computer games.
As a parent, you may think you understand what your child's behavior is telling you. But even though you know him well, there will be times when the message isn't clear.
If your child doesn't follow directions, it's easy to believe he's being stubborn or ignoring you on purpose. But his behavior may be covering up problems remembering or understanding directions. Perhaps you're talking too much — giving him more than he can handle verbally.
Next time see if these strategies help him:
If your child doesn't start homework until the last minute, you may think he's being lazy or defiant. But maybe he doesn't know how to get started. Perhaps he has problems with the concept of time or can't decide when his work is good enough. Some kids think the "due date" is the day they're supposed to "do" the project.
These ideas may help to make homework time a little less frustrating:
If your child just can't seem to sit still to get anything done, it's easy to believe he's just being difficult. But he may physically need to move more than his brothers or sisters because that's who he is. Here are some ways to help:
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