At some point all parents struggle with their child’s challenging behaviors. Behaviors serve a function, and the first step in designing any behavior plan is identifying both the trigger of the behavior, and the perceived reinforcement the child received. This can be a bit complicated, as the function of any particular disruptive behavior (e.g. a tantrum), can vary from child to child, OR, from situation to situation within the same child.

Roya Kravetz, Parenting Specialist and Behavior Coach ( offers the following tips on how to address disruptive behaviors:

Behavior management/parenting tips:

  1. Avoid power struggles by picking your battles, and ignoring minor/inappropriate behaviors.
  2. Identify your child’s strengths and capitalize on them.
  3. Set clear boundaries and stick to them.
  4. Spend alone time with each child on a regular basis.
  5. Model the behavior you want your child to learn. Children learn 95% by modeling and only 5% by listening to instructions.
  6. Try catching them when they are acting responsible and acknowledge them for it.
  7. Being both firm and kind causes a win/win situation for both the parent and the child.
  8. Teach your child to use words in order to show his/her feelings and consequently be able to ask about what she/he needs.
  9. Listen to your child. Ask them if they are exceedingly frustrated, anxious or upset about something at home or at school, and ask them for ideas on how you can help make things better.
  10. If your child’s disruptive behavior continues despite your efforts, consider consulting a professional. Children do not typically ‘grow out’ of bad behaviors. It is important to be proactive, and help your child find healthier ways to navigate and cope with negative emotions.

For questions or comments about these tips, please email Roya at

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