Child Management Techniques: Dr. Stanley Turecki

1. Highly Active
Definition: Very active; always into things; makes you tired; gets wild or "revved up", loses control, hates to be confined.

Inappropriate descriptions: Interrupts, wild, destructive, uncontrolled.

Say this:

Examples -- "You're overexcited." "I think you are getting too revved up." "You are beginning to lose control."

Do this:

Intervene early. Provide quiet distraction. Provide cooling off time/space. Provide space for blowing off steam.

2. Distractible

has trouble concentrating and paying attention, especially if not interested; doesn't "listen".

Inappropriate descriptions:

forgetful, irresponsible, absent-minded, lazy.

Say this:

Examples -- "I know it's hard for you to pay attention." "I need to see your eyes when I'm talking to you."

Do this:

Establish eye contact, by touch if necessary. Give short instructions. Reduce distractions.

3. Irregular, unpredictable


unpredictable needs; child is never hungry or tired at predictable times; moods change suddenly.

Inappropriate descriptions:

uncooperative, loner, moody.

Say this:

Examples --"I know you are not hungry now. I'll put your plate in the refrigerator and you can eat your meal when you are hungry." "I know you are not sleepy now, but it is time to be in your bedroom."

Do this:

Separate mealtime from eating time; bedtime from sleep time. Create routines, even if they are unusual. Be flexible.

4.Low sensory threshold

extreme sensitivity to sounds, lights, colors, textures, temperature, pain, tastes, smells; clothes have to feel right which makes dressing a problem; doesn't like the way many foods taste; seems to overreact to minor cuts and scrapes; feels too warm or too cold when others don't; may tantrum.

Inappropriate descriptions:

fussy, picky, particular, hard to please.

Say this:

Examples -- "I know that really bothers you." "I know this tastes funny to you." Acknowledge the child's perceptions as valid for the child.

Do this:

Recognize that the child is really bothered and not just being contrary. Do not challenge the child's perception. Treat related behavior as relevant. Make the child comfortable. Give the child permission to make himself comfortable.

5. Negative mood

Definition: Child's first reaction to a new stimulus or idea is always negative. May appear cranky or serious. Not happy about very many things. "Looks for problems." "Glass is always half-empty."

Inappropriate descriptions: Complaining, whining, pouting, sulks, gripes, never satisfied.

Don't Say Anything:

You cannot make things better for this child/person. Keep your reaction neutral and give the person time to adjust or get on with life. To yourself say, "This is the way he/or she is; they can't help it. It's not a personal attack on me or my ideas."

Do this:

There is nothing you can do to change this child. Recognize that the behavior is the child's temperament and there is nothing wrong with the child. Ignore as much of the negative content as possible. Do not try to make this child happy. It will only make things worse.


gives up easily; can not handle delayed gratification; never finishes anything; quits projects before completion; short attention span, especially when not interested.

Inappropriate descriptions:

lazy; irresponsible; quitter; doesn't try hard enough.


Only positive things. Encourage, encourage, encourage. Avoid negative feedback and criticism at all costs.

Do this:

Break projects down into small steps. Teach in small steps. Provide small successes along the way.

7. Tantrums and Fits

When a child is rubbed the wrong way, they may come apart. Their psychological survival is at stake. "A wheel comes off!" "They go nuts!"

How to tell the difference between tantrums for manipulation and tantrums for survival:
•Manipulative tantrums stop when attention is withdrawn.
•Tempermental tantrums are the result of a child's temperament being violated. They are intense and child gets "locked in". Parents role in locked in behavior episodes:
Be kind and sympathetic.
Be present with the child --"I know you are upset but it will be okay."
don't talk about it.
wait it out.

8. Locked-in behavior

"Personality like a pit bull. You have to kill him to make him let go."
1.take a stand early and bring it to an end. neutral -- Don't empty the Emotional Bank Account.* Kindness counts. firm -- Be an example of self-control, not POWER.
4.label the behavior for the child -- label behavior, not the child.


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