Each difficult child is unique and requires individual attention. The strategies required for one child may be quite different from another. As long as each strategy conforms to the principle of Competence and the rules outlined, such differences do not matter. Raising Difficult Children provides a basic structure for discipline rather than giving a comprehensive list of what to do with the wide variety of behaviours exhibited by difficult children.
- Stretching Time –when facing a difficult situation, take extra time rather than rushing
- Anticipating change – where possible explain changes to your child.
- Give simple messages – one at a time.
- Explain challenging excursions – teach a strategy so that your child can enjoy experiences.
- Change time – the key is to not wait until the last minute to let the child know that things will be different
- Cool down – it is easier to stop a car in first gear than in top gear speeding down the freeway. Appropriate intervention early helps the child not to go into overdrive.
- Allow children to burn up energy – there are situations where a child may find it necessary to burn off pent-up energy which is caused by a stressful activity.
- Separate mealtime and times to eat – children are not always hungry at 6 p.m.
- Separate bedtime and time to sleep – distinguish the difference between time for bed and time to sleep.
- Structure your family for you – remember how your children ‘fits’ – all families are different and can tolerate different levels of noise and chaos.
- Clear away the clutter – too many toys, too many clothes, to much clutter in the home and classroom can distress a poorly adapted, distracted child.
- Find ‘Uncle Charley’ or ‘Aunty Hope’ – one-on-one attention from a caring adult is a gift for children whose temperament is difficult.