Does it often seem to you that parenting requires superhuman abilities and the patience of a saint? While being a parent is, without a doubt, the hardest job of all, don’t let the joys and sorrows of parenting distract you from the fact that you’re only human after all.
What this means is that no matter how dedicated of a parent you are, you will make mistakes along the way. And that’s perfectly fine. What matters most is to take a genuine interest in managing your child’s behavior and do all that’s in your power to set a positive example and maintain a healthy home environment.
Establishing good communication with your children is the foundation of effective behaviour management. Talking with your children openly about feelings is an excellent way to strengthen their emotional intelligence and discourage anti-social behavior. In other words, only when you’ve made honest communication a priority in your family will you be able to truly master the techniques of behaviour management for kids.
So what does good communication between parents and children look like? Firstly, you should do your best to encourage children to talk about their emotions, especially when you notice they’re going through a rough patch. Be respectful of your child’s feelings and show them you can empathize with them without being dismissive or condescending.
Since young children often lack the nuanced vocabulary necessary for emotional expression, you can try using different creative ways to explore the world of emotions with your children. This can be anything from drawings and flashcards to playing cards or board games. Whatever activity you pick, make sure you pay attention to emotional cues such as facial expressions, body language, and other non-verbal cues. Finally, don’t forget to set a good example for your children by letting your children know how you feel in different situations and talking honestly about your own emotions.
One of the most common reasons for misbehavior in children is giving vague instructions. Misbehaving children are often children who don’t understand what the parents actually expect from them, so if you want your child to follow a certain set of rules, you need to be careful about the way you give directions.
The first thing to keep in mind is that instructions should be short, concise, and unambiguous. Using more words than necessary is bound to confuse your children and provoke an even bigger temper tantrum.
Letting your anger or frustration get the best of you is a big ‘no’ when it comes to giving instructions to children. No matter what upset you may be feeling at the moment, don’t let your children see that you’re unable to control your emotions. Use a clear, firm tone of voice and beware of your body language. It’s also important not to give your child several instructions at once so as not to overwhelm them. Address your child by their name, maintain eye contact, and give your child some time to process your instructions before repeating it.
Discipline and consistency go hand in hand, regardless of your parenting style. If you enforce rules selectively or don’t follow through with the consequences of noncompliance, you’ll never be able to manage your child’s behavior in a healthy way.
Repeating empty threats and never taking any real action teaches your child to simply tune out and ignore your directions. Not only could this lead to more behavior problems, but it could also hurt your relationship with your child in the long run.
You should also make sure you’re not imposing too many rules on your children as this often results in rebellious behavior, especially with teenagers. While establishing rules is important, children also need to have enough freedom to grow and learn from their own mistakes.
The environment in which children’s behavior problems are addressed is as important as the methods you use to enforce rules. Research has shown that children who exhibit common behavior problems such as picky eating, disrespectful language, backtalk, lying, disobedience, and aggression usually come from chaotic homes.
Any attempt at disciplining will inevitably fail if the family dynamics have been broken, so before you try to discipline your child, think about whether you’ve provided enough structure at home for your children.
Providing structure means establishing a consistent daily routine for your child, creating realistic expectations, keeping promises, spending quality time with your children, resolving family conflicts in a calm and reasonable way, and nurturing a positive and relaxed atmosphere at home.
When it comes to disciplining your children, it’s crucial to be smart about it. Often times, a wrong approach to discipline can worsen the existing behavior problems in children and undermine your authority as a parent.
The first thing to remember when disciplining your child is that physical punishment is not only a moral wrong that infringes on children’s rights but an entirely ineffective tool for behavior management. When you physically punish your child, you’re not only disrespecting their dignity and body integrity, you’re also telling them that using aggression is an acceptable way of solving problems.
Study after study has shown that using force to discipline children is harmful to children’s development and can cause a host of problems- not just for individual children and families, but for the society as a whole. Just some of the negative consequences of using corporal punishment are antisocial behavior, aggression toward others, bullying, low self-esteem, and an increased risk of mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and disruptive mood dis-regulation disorder.
So what does smart discipline entail? It’s pretty much the sum of everything that’s already been mentioned above – open and honest communication between parents and children, clear and concise instructions, consistent enforcement of rules, and a safe environment that provides a structure for healthy behavior management at home.