Being a single parent is often challenging enough in and of itself, but raising difficult children can be especially trying. A difficult child is one who is slow to adapt to new situations, has odd sleeping and eating schedules and is more emotional and often more defiant than a typical child. Many parents, especially younger single parents, can be at a loss for how to care for such a child, but as long as they remain calm and remember these basic parenting techniques for difficult children it is possible to weather even the most difficult parenting situations that can and probably will arise.
Be Aware of your Own Emotions
The first thing that you should always do when faced with a difficult parenting situation is to be aware of your own emotional tendencies. Children are always quick to pick up behaviors and emotions from their parents, so you should do your best to remain calm and try not to show your frustration. You should be doing your best to allow your emotions and personality to mesh with that of your children, which will help you with the next important parenting technique.
One of the most important things that a parent can do with a child is communicate. Communicate often and make all of your intentions very clear. Difficult children often have trouble adjusting to change, so they will need plenty of advance warning before any major changes are to be made.
This ties in perfectly with the importance of communication. Parents need to set strict limits with children, even those who are usually well-behaved. Make it clear what those limits and your own expectations are and listen to feedback.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Many studies have proven time after time that children respond better to positive reinforcement than they do to punishments. Instead of constantly punishing bad behavior, offer to reward good behavior. Punishments shouldn’t be discounted entirely, but offering to reward good behavior is one of the more useful parenting techniques for difficult children. This can be as simple as cooking a special dinner if a child completed all of his chores, or it can be a new toy for a child who maintains good behavior over time.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when raising children is to respect them. You may be the one in charge, but children are people with their own opinions and personalities. Respect the differences in personality that you may have. That alone goes a long way in earning a child’s respect and trust.