A number of parents talk about the stress of having to deal with challenging behavior from their child. One of the major stresses seems to be the reaction of others, particularly when out and about in public. Couples sometimes deal with behavior in different ways, which can cause arguments.
It is important that parents give their child consistent messages when it comes to behavior. You could try sitting down together and discussing the following points:
- What behaviours does your child demonstrate that you find unacceptable?
- How do you intend to deal with these behaviors?
- What sanctions will you use?
- What rewards will you offer your child for positive behavior?
- What do you find most difficult to cope with your child’s behavior?
If you find that you cannot agree on the best way to handle behavior and it is causing friction in your relationship, seek advice from an outside agency. You could ask the school how they deal with the behaviour and identify strategies that could work for you at home. If your child is pre-school age you could ask the health visitor for advice. Whatever you choose to do remember that you can reach a common ground.
This is an extract from Special Needs Child: Maintaining Your Relationship by Antonia Chitty and Victoria Dawson, White Ladder Press £12.99. The book is available online and in your local bookstore. Quote ISBN 978-190541056-9 to order.