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Health & Parenting

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Is My Child a Troublemaker?

Learn how to tell whether a child's bad behavior is just typical kid stuff or something more -- and what to do about it.

Step 4: Accentuate the Positive. Eliminate the Negative. continued...

Eliminating the negative means letting your child know, in no uncertain terms, that you're not going to tolerate bad behaviors. That won't always be easy. You might have to walk out of the supermarket and leave your full shopping cart in the aisle to stop a tantrum, or take your child out of the theater in the middle of a movie when she won't quit hitting her brother. Expect at least some resistance. "Any time you change those behaviors, the child is going to test that," Kashurba says.

While you're discouraging bad behaviors, show your child the good behaviors you want him to emulate. For example, say, "Use your words instead of hitting." Practice that same good behavior over and over again, and praise him when he gets it right.

Don't try to solve every behavioral problem simultaneously -- just focus on one at a time.

"Zero in on only that behavior over and over and over again. If you focus on too many behaviors at once you'll never get the change," Borba says.

Be patient. It can take about three weeks of constant repetition before you start seeing results. "You'll see a slow, gradual change in baby steps where the old behavior stops and the new behavior kicks in," Borba says. "Don't be frustrated. It's tough."

Reviewed on November 09, 2011
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