As any parent knows, at some point (and sometimes several times a day), your child's behaviour is likely to be somewhat challenging.
Kids will often be stubborn, argumentative and destructive - and getting them to calm down, listen and behave with consideration can be an uphill struggle.
A recent thread on Reddit asked users to offer their most helpful 'psychology tricks'. Several of the responses were particularly relevant to parents - and here are a few of them that might be worth trying out next time you're dealing with a troublesome child.
1. Offer preemptory praise
ceruleus0 says: "People become what you call them. You treat someone like a monster, they become a monster.
To ensure that someone maintains a certain positive trait, compliment them for it beforehand. People are more likely to follow you if they have your approval, rather than trying to win it. You don't know far people will go when they already have something to lose (a good impression they have on you).
"Words are immensely powerful. This is also why I never call someone any bad names, even if they deserve it."
myBisL2 offered similar advice: "You never say 'don't do x.'
"I had a terror child in daycare and people would yell at him for acting out. I would start each day by saying 'You're going to be a good boy today!'
And every time he acted out I would say 'wait, you're my good boy right?'
He would say yes and stop doing it. When his mom came to get him I made a point to of telling her how good he was. That child never acted out around me after a week."
2. Give the illusion of choice
CrawlingLuliGoGo says: "Giving students in my elementary class the illusion of choice. If you ask 'do you want to start your work?' Or 'isn't it time we got something done?' I modify it to - 'Would you like to do your assignment with a pencil or blue pen?'
They are too consumed with this choice that they have forgotten that they didn't want to do it in the first place.
3. Look into their eyes
ShowMeYourTorts says: "My favorite is silently maintaining eye contact when a [child] is attempted to bargain or convince you of something.
"They usually end up negotiating with themselves (which gives you a huge advantage because once that happens, it is pretty much game over)."
4. Get them laughing
Nitrostoat says: "Have a toddler that is in a bad mood? Sit down with them, look them straight in the eye, and say 'You're mad, so don't laugh.' Just keep repeating it as seriously as you can.
"I've done it for 15 different cousins over a couple of decades, and by the fifth repetition of 'DON'T LAUGH' they are busting a gut and rolling on the floor.
5. Acknowledge their grievances
Lon-Abel-Kelly says: "If you want to calm someone down, sympathize with them whilst describing what's upsetting them in descending orders of magnitude.
"I understand why you're angry ... You're right to be frustrated ... This would annoy me too.
"As they accept the acknowledgements they want they should also accept the declining emphasis on emotion and become calmer"
6. Be complimentary
zazzlekdazzle says: Many people (I would say most, maybe almost all) are surprisingly susceptible to flattery and being told what they want to hear.
"People tend to shy away from this strategy, thinking it will be too obvious and clumsy, but just try it.
"It's as if being flattered or hearing people agree with you gives people a rush of pleasurable hormones to the brain.
7. Lower your voice
TheR1d3r says: "In an argument speak softly. It forces active listening which leads to active thinking. When they are listening and thinking they are not yelling, arguing, or talking."
Have your say
More Lifestyle Headlines
- No more sleeping sickness; experts embrace Fexinidazole pill
- A common struggle: Living with the fear of fears
- How your diet causes body odour
- Are you micro-cheating on your significant other?
- USAID launches new neglected disease control program in West Africa
- This is why you should never share your passwords with your partner
- How many times a week should you run?
- Low-carb diets may work by boosting calorie burn
- Goodbye 'gluten-free'? Celiac disease vaccine may make it possible
- How to stop comparing your relationship to others
- Health Director orders killing of Keta stray dogs
- Take charge of your health with these easy tips
- 10 awkward money scenarios to avoid on a date
- 'Can I forgive him? – How I discovered my husband’s sex obsession'
- Men with these 10 traits make the strongest, most valuable partners