Find resources / Group parenting programme / Managing behaviour / When your child’s behaviour stresses you out

Exploring what causes us stress, and ways to manage children's behaviour.

Learning goals

  • Understand what behaviour can cause us stress.
  • Build the confidence and ability to parent positively.

Background information

Sometimes other people may offer suggestions about what to do when a child is misbehaving, especially if it’s happening in public. Their advice can be helpful, but sometimes it can feel aggressive or unsympathetic.

Unsympathetic suggestions usually come from people with little understanding of young children’s development and behaviour, or what it’s like to be a full-time parent. It doesn’t help a parent who’s already feeling stressed by their child’s behaviour.

Share examples of stress

Working in pairs:

  • Share examples about things that your kids do that can get you stressed, angry or upset.
  • Role-play a scenario where a child is ‘misbehaving’. Try various tactics to help the ‘child’ behave better.
  • Write an ‘I need help letter’ explaining one of your frustrating examples. For example, ‘Dear Dr Phil, My two-year-old won’t leave his baby sister alone. He wants to kiss her, pick her up and put his fingers her mouth. I can’t let him out of my sight when she’s around. What advice do you have?’

Mix the letters up, redistribute them and have another pair answer the letter.

Invite pairs to share their ideas with the group.

Lead a discussion with the group: Is there agreement on how to manage different types of behaviour? Why? Why not?