As we move around in today’s fast world, we see that parenting children has become more and more challenging. Though it is very difficult to point fingers at any particular cause, it is a mix of influences which has led to parenting going wrong, leading to behavioural problems in children.
Today, we find that there is an increased focus on children’s rights. We find that children are very intelligent and speak up boldly, when there is any harm done to them, but at the same time parents are apprehensive about mildly disciplining their children. Parents are constantly struggling to give their children the best. The commercial advertisements have built ideas that unless we provide our children the best, we are not good parents.
There is also a rise of competitive parenting, wherein there is a huge stress on academics, that all other life skills are neglected. Parenting has now become permissive parenting. Parents just give in because they want to avoid tantrums and make their life easier.
Today, we will see how we can guide our children to good behaviour.
No child is well behaved all the time.
It is important to understand that we are all human and so we are bound to make mistakes. However, we should be able to learn from those mistakes. As parents we need to help our children to maximise the good part and minimise the bad part.
Authoritative parenting rather than authoritarian parenting.
Though the two words resemble closely, they are very different. Modern research indicates that authoritative parenting balances well between warmth and control. Parents are in charge of the situation but in a kind and considerate way. Parents explain to their children the consequences of their actions rather than just expecting them to comply or obey.
Work out your behaviour management plan.
It is important to have a behaviour management plan. You need to actively think through, how you will manage your child’s behaviour. This will help you to be in control “when you are in the heat of the moment”. The plan needs to encourage and reward good behaviour and at the same time punish bad behaviour.
Some of the things that you can implement are :
a) Reward good behaviour with positive things like extra time in the park, additional bedtime stories or a weekend dinner out.
b) Ensure that rewards are appropriate to their age groups.
c) Have specific categories for which the child gets a tick or a star at the end of the day.
d) Categories have to be clear like finishing your homework, picking up your toys, making your bed or playing nicely with the younger sibling for 15 minutes.
e) Take your child’s inputs while creating the categories.
f) Keep changing the categories to make it more interesting, you can add a fun element to it.
Praise your child but do not over do it.
It is important to give your child positive feedback, as it will definitely encourage them. However there is a tendency to overdo it. Remember to keep it simple and specific, which will encourage them in future, otherwise it will dilute its impact.
Punishments are necessary when used appropriately.
A complete absence of punishment, gives the children the liberty to believe that they can get away with anything. You need to understand that you want your child to behave well, not only because of the rewards or threat of punishment but they should also understand the importance of behaving in the right manner. Avoid beating your children, as physical punishment only leads to anger, resentment and is also a bad example that it is fine to raise your hand and beat somebody if you are angry. Effective punishment has some key elements like explanation of what is wrong, its impact, and what they should have done differently to have a better consequence. Remember the famous quote from the Bible which says “Treat others as you would like to be treated”.
Most young children are attention seekers.
Sometimes children try to seek attention by their bad behaviour or tantrums. In such cases it is best to ignore them and send the right signal that you will not talk to them unless they are calm and willing to talk. Though initially, this might seem difficult to put in practice, remember that children are great observers. If you are consistent, then they will automatically adhere to this discipline.
Develop a set of family rules.
Always develop a set of family rules, so that children clearly know what is expected of them. Rules should be consistent, clear and easy to understand. It is good to sit down together and make rules which are generally agreeable to everybody. It is very important to be firm and calm while making rules, as there will be too many unwanted discussions and disagreements.
It is important to understand the trigger points.
When children are disturbed and angry, then their bad behaviour is triggered. It is important to understand and talk to them calmly about their behaviour. If you explain things properly, then the child is in a better position to understand and not repeat the same in the future. For e.g., if there is sibling quarrel over toys then it is good to distribute the toys in advance and avoid such quarrels. You can also ask them to take steps to understand their trigger points and teach them how to handle it.
Pick your battles wisely.
It is good to give your child freedom to take decisions which are appropriate for their age. For e.g., give them the freedom to choose the movie that they want to see or the food that they want to order on a weekend or the clothes that they want to wear for a birthday party. In this way, you choose your battles wisely as whenever you have something important to say, they will hear you and be obedient.
Avoid being too critical.
It is important to be positive and encourage them. Avoid being too critical and labelling them with negative behaviour, as this will also erode their self esteem. It is good to give firm and constructive feedback, which may sometimes be a little negative to help them face the world. Just avoid being too critical all the time.
Time out is one of the most effective ways to get children disciplined. It helps them to calm down and behave properly.
At times you might feel that it is too late to implement a discipline routine, but it is not the case. However challenging your child’s behaviour is, it is not too late to start. Think carefully about what exactly you want your children to change and then work out a plan to address it. Clearly define things that you want them to do differently, like no shouting or back answering or no hitting younger siblings etc.
Though initially it may be difficult, things will soon fall in place and your children will know and understand the boundaries that you have set.
The above are some of the ways to guide your children to good behaviour.
Please click here to read our earlier article on How to deal with child’s irrational behaviour.
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