By Ashley Maturo.
As a parent, you know how frustrating it feels when you can’t get your kids to stop misbehaving. No matter how many times you have tried to get them to settle down, they just don’t seem to want to listen. Punishment may seem like the easier solution but there are other, more positive ways a parent can get their child to cooperate that don’t involve the timeout chair. And you may have already noticed – punishment doesn’t improve behavior in the long run.
- Connect before Correcting: Building a positive relationship with your child is more likely to influence good behavior. Spending warm and constructive time together can help a child feel closer to you. In turn, your child will not feel a need to misbehave in order to gain your attention. Try to spend at least 20 minutes each day connecting with your child. Do something you both enjoy, one-one-one, with no technology and no interruptions.
- Promote Self-Control: Modeling control over your own behavior will help you child do it for himself. Teach yourself to calm down before reacting to your child’s misbehavior. If you get angry and yell, you are displaying a lack of control when overwhelmed. Pay attention to how you act, talk and behave in front of your children. A child can’t calm down if she never learns how to!
- Listen and Understand How Your Child is Feeling: By recognizing how your child feels, you are helping him identify his own emotions. Sometimes your child just wants to know that you understand him, but it may be expressed in misbehavior. Calmly saying, “It looks like your feeling angry, sad, etc.” may immediately calm your child down and help him express his emotions in words instead of tantrums. If you can’t tell how your child feels, just ask him.
- Create a Set of Clear Rules: A child won’t know she is breaking the rules if no rules were made in the first place. When you throw new restrictions on your child, it can be confusing for her. Creating a list of Dos and Don’ts, especially with your child’s input can be beneficial for a child to learn their limits. Sit down as a family and write down the rules of the house and the consequences for not following them. When anyone (including you) breaks a rule, calmly enforce the agreed upon consequence. You can revisit the list of rules as time goes by an adjust as needed for your family. Keep them simple and positive.
- Recognize the Reasons behind the Behavior: It becomes a lot easier to figure out how to discipline your child once you figure out the reasons behind his misbehavior. Is he tired or hungry? Is he upset about something at school? Does he simply want your attention, because he hasn’t received any today? Try to identify possible reasons for your child’s behavior, before assuming anything.