How To Discipline A Child

How to Deal With a Difficult Child

Hyperactive children are often unusually intelligent.
Hyperactive children are often unusually intelligent.
Publications International, Ltd.

Every parent knows that some children are harder to handle than others. Sometimes problems occur because of personality differences between a parent and a child, but there are children with whom any parent would have trouble. The truly difficult child may have been so from infancy, given to troubled sleep, feeding problems, and perhaps many minor illnesses. The challenge grows as the child does. He is strong-willed, with powerful needs and unyielding determination, and often intensely curious about every aspect of his surroundings.

Parents of a child like this can comfort themselves somewhat in knowing that difficult children often are unusually intelligent. Some may be classified as hyperactive, but that diagnosis should not be made before the child is of school age. After a complete physical examination and sometimes psychological testing, a child may be diagnosed as hyperactive and may be prescribed medication. Some doctors believe hyperactivity can be helped by omitting sweets and food coloring from the diet, but this is a controversial issue and hyperactivity is a controversial diagnosis, especially when it involves the prescription of medication.

It is important to accept this strong-willed child as he is and to convey your love often and sincerely. Avoid confrontation when you can by distracting the child or heading off a situation you know will cause trouble. Be firm when you have to, but save your energy for major problems by letting your child win a battle now and then. There will be periods when your child is especially hard to handle and you feel stressed. Try to find time for yourself during these periods, if only for an afternoon or evening.

While no parent enjoys disciplining their child, it is an unfortunate necessity of raising children. If you approach the task being even-minded and fair, you will feel confident in your actions. Remember, discipline is for both you and your child -- even if they don't understand right away.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

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Michael K. Meyerhoff, Ed.D. is executive director of the Epicenter Inc.,"The Education for Parenthood Information Center," a family advisory and advocacy agency located in Lindenhurst, Illinois. He received his doctorate in human development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also served as a researcher with the Harvard Preschool Project. He is the author of "Bright Start: Activities to Develop Your Child's Potential." His articles on early development and parenting have appeared in numerous publications for parents and professionals, and his regular magazine columns have received a first-place National Headliners Award and two first-place citations from Parenting Publications of America.