How to Help Kids Turn Negative Behavior Into Positive Behavior

Kids occasionally respond negatively to different situations. While your kids might be sweet and well-behaved on a regular basis, they are not immune to the occasional temper tantrum, even if you believe those should have been left behind along with the toddler years. Kids aren’t perfect, and their negative behavior is proof of that. It’s your job as a parent to help your kids turn their negative behavior into positive behavior, and you can do it in a number of ways.

Ask your child what is wrong. Sometimes after your kids have been fighting and you’ve had a long day, it’s easy to demand that your kids calm down and be quiet. However, you may fail to realize that their negative behavior stemmed from something upsetting to them. Help turn their negative reaction into a positive conversation by asking what’s wrong. The next time your child is screaming in anger, don’t tell her to stop it, ask her what’s wrong. You can turn this into a positive experience by showing her that it’s better to handle situations that upset her by coming to you and talking about it, rather than reacting with a tantrum.

Redirect your child's focus from a negative behavior to a positive one 2. If your child is mixing his finger paint in his sister’s play dishes and painting the walls in her room, redirect him to the dining room where he can sit at the table and create a birthday card for his grandmother’s upcoming birthday with his finger paint. Redirecting him in this manner shows positivity; you understand he wants to paint, and now he understands there are appropriate places to do so.

Suggest alternative ways to work out frustration. Sometimes kids use negative behavior to work through an upsetting situation. You don’t want them to think that it’s not okay to be upset -- sometimes being upset is completely warranted -- so you need to show them another way to take out their anger and/or frustration. Suggest to your kids that the next time they feel angry or upset or frustrated, instead of acting out, they do 50 jumping jacks or pushups or some other form of safe physical activity that will help them to calm down. You just turned a negative reaction into a health benefit.


Beware of your own reaction to your kids' negative behavior. Becoming frustrated and angry yourself only makes their behavior worse.