How to Change Child’s Negative Behavior

How to Change Child's Negative Behavior

Children have a whole slew of negative behaviors that they try out over the years. By the time they’re 3 and 4 years old, they’ve run the gamut of crying, shouting, hitting and tattling. You might wonder where these little rage machines came from, and many parents blame themselves, thinking if they had only been better, more supportive parents, their children would be content. This is not so.

Rare is the child that skips testing these behaviors to see if any of them work. The burden of parenting is slowly and painstakingly showing your children that those methods don’t work, then proving to them that life is better when they cease to use the negative techniques altogether.


When your child is feeling negatively toward another person or even an object, her first reaction will be to lash out. It’s easy for a child to get stuck on the feeling of release that gives her. Combined with her repetitive nature at this point in her life, she could float on this negativity kick for hours. If you fight her on it, tit for tat, she’ll get more stubborn and set in her thinking. Using distraction tools might seem like you’re simply avoiding the problem, but you’re not. Giving your child something else, something happier, to think about will reframe her thoughts and emotions at that moment.

Then later, you can broach the topic on your terms, when you’re both on neutral ground. For instance, if your child is shouting about wanting to wear a different shirt, but you don’t have another shirt because you’re at the library, take her to another section for a new environment, and pick out a few colorful books from the shelves. Start talking to her about these books in a cheerful tone, to get her interested in the pictures. She may even ask you to read one.


Redirecting is more involved than distraction in that it uses the original negativity to piggy-back from. The parent takes the negative thoughts and reactions and spins the situation so that there is no room for a tantrum or grudge. Say your child is throwing a tantrum because he wants to open a DVD by himself but doesn’t have the dexterity to do it. Tell him that you understand how frustrating that is, then get your own DVD from the shelf. Fumble with it for a moment to get his interest. Then, as he watches you, very slowly and deliberately open the DVD so that he sees your hand movements. Then have him try again.

By inserting yourself into his situation in a non-combative way, he’ll be less likely to fight your help. You’ve placed yourself on the same team. Direct your child to a solution to his problem without giving in to his moods. The more you minimize the damage, the more easily he’ll see that his reactions are overblown.

Use Positivity

Give your children the power of language to combat their instinctive behavior. If your kids think in negative terms — like stupid, jerk, unfair and hate — they’re going to have a harder time seeing each situation as it actually is, rather than an elaborate ploy against them. Show your children other ways to label their problems. You can use laughter, labeling something that would have otherwise been negative as silly or funny. For instance, if you have a child who doesn’t quite grasp that she doesn’t have control over other people and their decisions, you can explain the situation simply, so that neither party is wrong.

Children are illogical little things. If you put them on the defensive by telling them they’re doing something wrong, you’ll never get them to calm down. If one child will only color in blue, and your kid is convinced he should color in purple, say, “Isn’t it funny how Mark always wants the blue crayon? He’s so silly.” Over time, your child will come to accept that she doesn’t have control over every little detail and that it’s better to just let some things go.

Give Context

The most adult way to handle negative behavior, particularly when it is aimed at someone else, is to give the situation context for your little one. Preschoolers have trouble seeing the world as anything outside of themselves. To them, the way they feel is the way everyone feels and they have every right to behave in the manner they do. They assume everyone would do the same; they assume everyone is exactly as they are, and therefore should seamlessly understand their point of view. With just a bit of prodding from you, however, they will be able to associate their side of the issue with that of their perceived foe.

Like if a child is spinning around in a circle and hits your kid, she may try to retaliate, and you need to calmly interject. Tell her that violence is never right, and show her that the other child didn’t mean to swat her. Give the other side of the story and allow your child to understand the full circle.

How Many Problems With Letter of the Week in Preschool

As the pressure to pass standardized tests increases, even preschools are spending more time on strictly academic subjects. Instead of a general introduction to the alphabet, many preschools include a ...
Read More

How Teaching Preschool Age Children Requires Training

Just because your little learner's lead teacher makes it look easy, doesn't mean that acting as an early childhood educator is simple. Teaching preschool age children requires highly specialized training ...
Read More

How to Find Pros and Cons of Child to Kindergarten

The best time to send your child off to school depends largely on whom you ask. Proponents of starting kindergarten as early as possible believe it gives a child a ...
Read More

How Prayer is a Common Activity in Christian Toddler Home

Your little one may face a culture shock in daycare if your Christian values prevent him from doing things that are common in many daycare centers. That does not mean ...
Read More

How to Find the Care taking Adaptive Sibling Issues

In the world of foster care and adoption, when it comes to siblings, keeping them together is always the first choice. Even though in your mind, you see yourselves all ...
Read More

How Preschoolers Suffer From These Oral Health Problems

Most parents adore that toothless gummy grin, but whether you like it or not, teeth begin to surface as your baby turns around 6 months old and his first milk ...
Read More

How to Upload Photos From Folders to the Apple iPod

You can use the camera on your iPod Touch to take VGA-quality photos and store them on the device, but you can also transfer high-quality photos from your computer to ...
Read More

How to Make Programs for Toddlers to Improve Maths Skills

Because it's not enough that your preschooler or kindergartner can build an amazing sand castle and (almost) tie her own shoes -- now you have to worry about her math ...
Read More

How To Arrange Programs to Help Toddlers Learn Better

While an early educational program might not ensure that your preschooler is Harvard bound, it can help her to learn better. Whether you are looking to build on a specific ...
Read More

How USB wireless keyboards from as far as 40 feet away

In the beginning of the PC revolution, when monitors where often 12 to 14 inches in size, using your keyboard directly in front of the screen was not an option; ...
Read More

How to Share Pros and Cons of Toddler Discipline

Instilling self-control by establishing and sticking with rules is the name of the game when it comes to reigning in misbehaving toddlers and preschoolers. Self-control -- something many adults could ...
Read More

How to Prepare Protein Dip Recipe for Toddlers

As the mom of a toddler or preschooler, you are probably well acquainted with the magic of dipping. There's just something about dunking her meal that can get even the ...
Read More

How Potty Training is Part of Toddler Physical Development

Potty training is a normal part of every child's physical and emotional development, but not every child develops at the same pace. If your child is resistant to potty training ...
Read More

How to Make Psychological Effects of Parental Death

The grief that accompanies parental death can trigger psychological side effects for your child. If these psychological effects are long term or if they interfere with your child’s emotional or ...
Read More

How to Create Psychological Connections Between Toddler

According to the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development, 80 percent of children living in the United States have at least one sibling. Many children have more than one sibling, and ...
Read More

How to Share Preschool Children’s Intellectual Abilities

There are a number of psychological tests used to measure intellectual ability in children, but there are a limited number that are available for preschool-aged children. Although measurement of skills ...
Read More

How to Explore the Punishments for a Toddler

Toddlers are curious by nature. Young children in the toddler stage are discovering their independence and are interested in exploring the world around them. However, their exploration can lead to ...
Read More

How to Search Public Parks for Children’s Parties

You don't have to break the bank to throw your little one a top-notch bash. Free or low-cost places such as public parks are creative alternatives to the more pricey ...
Read More

How to Make Puppy Cupcakes for a Toddler Birthday

If you're looking for a fun activity for you and your preschooler, (and an unforgettable party treat) these puppy cupcakes are sure to please. If you want to get creative ...
Read More

How to Share Sensory Engagement Activities Toddler

Sensory play activities are enjoyable and educational for your toddler or preschooler. You're encouraged to join in the fun but expect to get your hands messy! Any pastime that stimulates ...
Read More