It is often said that children who need love the most will ask for it in the most unloving ways. We see this in childhood behavior problems such as temper tantrums, yelling and screaming, hitting others, and sometimes refusing parent instruction. Children with behavioral issues often have a difficult time receiving acceptance from others. Sometimes their peers will outcast them because they can’t identify with them, and often parents spend more time with them in discipline than affection. This can be frustrating and exhausting for many parents. When children are asking for attention and love in unhealthy ways, it’s important to remember that it’s during these times that children need your love and acceptance the most. Here are things to remember the next time your child is misbehaving.

Speak Calmly

Start by being patient and not getting upset or raising your voice every time your child does something you don’t agree with. Maintaining a calm tone of voice when upset helps children regulate their emotions. Speak calmly instead of raising your voice in anger.

Positively Affirm

Even through misbehavior children are asking for connection. Sometimes we forget to affirm our child when we are constantly disciplining. Try and find one or two things your child did well that day and emphasize those things. Positive affirmation improves children’s self-esteem.

Connect with Play

Spend time playing with your child every day. Lack of connection to your child happens when you become frustrated by the daily parenting challenges you go through. Even when you become upset when your child refuses to listen, try to find time to engage them in a play. Allow them to lead the play while you follow along as an active participant.

Show Love

Tell your child you love them every day and remind them you always will. Sometimes children feel that their parent’s disapproval of their behavior means they are loved less. Remind them that no matter what they do, or how much they misbehave, you will always love and support them.

If you are struggling with any of these, or if you're not seeing the results you expect, we have therapists ready to support your endeavor to love a difficult child and to provide you both with council in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Call our office to learn how we can provide you and your family with the help you deserve.

Angela Medellin, LPC-S, RPT-S


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