Effective parenting in the management of children's misbehaviour requires being consistent, proportional and fair in your response to every incident. In reality, this is hard to achieve as other factors affect how you can respond. This includes the context, setting, frequency, who you are with and how you are feeling. However, it is important that you set and enforce clear boundaries for behaviour that are realistic and achieveable for your child. As a family it is important to have agreed rules and expectations for everyone's behaviour and consistency between parents in enforcing rules is crucial. Parent must therefore discuss and agree the behaviours that must be challenged and those where it is more appropriate to ignore.
Ignoring attention seeking behaviour is really important. By doing so the child is more likely to give up that behaviour because they gain no reward. With attention seeking behaviour being 'told off' for it is giving your child the 'reward' of attention. When you begin to ignore a behaviour like a tantrum it usually takes about two weeks of consistent ignoring. The situation usually gets worse over the first few days then gradually improves into the second week. Finally, there are often a few last attempts by the child to use this attention seeking behaviour again and these can be big incidents.
When the behaviour of a child is unacceptable and you need to intervene it is important to ignore any secondary behaviours. These are often behaviours such as muttering, swearing, slamming doors and stamping feet that say 'I am not happy with you'. However, if your child has stopped or changed their original behaviour then they have complied with you and you need to ignore, if you can, these secondary undesirable behaviours.
Secondary behaviours are often 'safety valves' for children (and adults) allowing them to 'vent off' their frustration, irritation and anger. To the adult secondary behaviours are disrespectful and a challenge to your authority. This can make it very easy to become angry yourself and then start tackling the child over this new behaviour. This escalates the situation and will often cause an explosion of challenging behaviour.