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Bad behavior is a part of your child’s life, from throwing fits in the middle of your favorite clothing store, to starting fights or misbehaving during class. Children are prone to act out for a number of reasons. One main reason is that they are still within their developmental years. Young children are still learning the ways of right and wrong.

Often these traits and signals of inappropriate behavior start early in life. Knowing that bad behavior is inevitable, there are still some things that you can do to decrease or even prevent certain behavioral traits from occurring. Here are five pointers you can use to keep bad behavior down to a minimal:

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1.Start early

Many times we are afraid to discipline our children at an early age. My advice is, as soon as they start walking and talking, you create a plan on how to take care of bad behavior. Start with teaching them how their consequences have actions. Timeouts and taking away their favorite toys when they do something bad is a good start.

2. Use the terrible twos to your advantage

Most people say their children are uncontrollable at this age, but I beg to differ. This is the age where your child is learning how to test the waters with their adult figures. My advice is to look closely at the actions you take when they act out. Do you let it go, turn negatives into positives, or give them treats to stop their behavior? This is not the answer and bad behavior should be addressed at this age ASAP. A book entitled “My Time To Think” is a good choice. Read this book to your toddler and make them understand that they need to think before they act.

3. They are mini you, so watch what you do

Watching your actions is a big part of teaching your children how to behave. If every sentence out of your mouth has a four-lettered word or if you get into fights (whether verbal or physical),in front of your child, how do you except them to conduct themselves? Children learn from their parents first! This little person is looking up to you for guidance. So try and tone yourself down when around your child. Show them how to handle difficult situations without acting inappropriately.

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4. Stay Strong

When giving out a punishment, DO NOT crack. I know it’s hard to see your little one burst into tears when they have to sit in the naughty chair but think about the values and traits you’re instilling into him or her. Bad behavior is one of the things that can keep your child from achieving a lot of goals in life, including their education. Don’t think about it as making them stuffer; discipline is initial when raising a child.

5. Pay Attention

If your child tries to bully you, or is violent to animals or younger siblings, then you may want to put this fire out right now. Bullying is the most talked about subject in regards to today’s youth. Don’t be mistaken, it is very serious and can lead to your child facing some serious consequences. If you notice that your child is developing bully-like behavior at a young age, it’s smart to talk to them and put them in the shoes of the person they are bullying. Ask them questions like, “how would you feel if someone did this to you?” Showing your child the different sides of their actions is a great way to get them to understand that what they are doing is wrong.

These tips are not the only way to handle developing bad behavior. All children are different and it’s up to the parents to address this problem, before it’s too late. What are your thoughts?