What can you do to change difficult behaviour?

The most important thing you can do is to be patient, avoid losing your temper and remember that love is more persuasive than punishment. Before you act, try to think a few things through – ask yourself questions. Then, act as calmly and thoughtfully as you can.

  • Does my child know that she/he is loved? Make sure that your child knows that you love him/her, and it does not hurt to tell them over again. Love brings love in turn, and it is a lot harder for anyone, child or adult, to behave in ways that will hurt someone she/he loves.

 

  • It is necessary for my child to do this, or it is Ok for him/her to choose? Obviously there are times when you can give your children no choice. Unsafe, destructive, dishonest or rude behaviour has to be corrected and children must learn what the limits are.  However, leave some reasonable choices to your children – what to wear, what to eat for breakfast (as long as it is healthy!) and how to schedule for homework and play.

 

  • Did my child do this on purpose? Becoming angry at a child for misbehaving because she/he did not know any better will do more harm than good. In the case of eight year old with the snow ball, you can deal with the problem by using the incident to teach some basic lessons in safety. However, you should remember that you will have to keep repeating that kind of lesson many times before your child automatically thinks in terms of safety, without prompting from you.

 

  • If I lose my temper, am I going to make matters worse? Suppose your three year old goes to your bedroom and breaks a string of pearls after being reprimanded. Obviously, he/she is enraged and if you are respond with rage, you will be continuing a cycle of anger from which it may be difficult to escape. Try to let your child know that you understand his/her anger and the reason for it, and try to get your child to put his/her angry feelings into words. Try to help your child think about making amends for the damage done.

 

  • Is the punishment I have given is too harsh? If you punished your child when you were angry, you may later think that you were too harsh. Trust your feelings. Remember that changing your mind not necessarily a sign of weakness. Children have a very keen sense of fair play and will respect an adult who changes his/her mind in favour of great fairness.

 

  • Try to put consistent routines in place for your children. Children need the security provided by regular routines and events in a stable environment. Security and stability make it easier for children to behave in a stable and co operative manner.

 

  • Learn to use the “time out” method to help your child regain composure and self control. Give your child some time alone, not as a punishment, but as an opportunity to recover from a bout of misbehaviour. Send your child to his/her room and encourage him/her to read, colour or play with a favourite toy until he/she is calmed down. Then try to discuss the behaviour problem constructively with your child.

 

  • Remember that every child needs to know there are limits. Setting limits and quietly but firmly insisting on certain standards of behaviour provides your child with a sense of security and help make him/her feel safe and secure.

 

Use of Discipline to deal with misbehaviour     

  • You are the best role model your child has. Show your child how to solve problems in a peaceful way.

 

  • Make a few simple rules that are fair and reasonable for your child’s age.

 

  • Make sure children know what is expected of them so it is easier for them to co operate. Be consistent.

 

  • Make routines and stick to them, especially at bed time and mealtimes. Your child is more likely to misbehave when tired, hungry and over excited.

 

  • Listen and try to understand your child’s point of view. Help your child to talk about feelings like anger and sadness. Let your child know that it’s ok to cry.

 

  • When your child is having fun, it’s hard to stop. Give your child time to end the activity.

 

  • Children can get bored easily, so plan ahead for outings. For example, distract your child with a toy or play a game while waiting in line.

 

  • Allowing children to make simple decisions make them feel good, and it teaches them how to solve problems. Offer choices line, “Do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt?”

 

  • Children don’t always understand dangerous situations. Supervise your child and explain the dangers as often as possible.

 

  • Be part of the solution. Encourage your child to come to you with problems and figure them out together.

 

  • Praise your child when rules are obeyed and be patient when they are broken. Learning is a process and it won’t happen overnight. Remember, you can never give too many hugs.

 

Disciplining your child takes time and patience, but it can make parenting easier and more rewarding. You relationship with your child grow stronger and your child will learn important skills.

 

 


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