Top Ten Tips for ParentsSep 18, 2018 | BY Andrea Myers | IN Feature
These 10 suggestions can help all parents. You can change a child’s behaviour.
1. BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL
- children do as you do
- model respect (and self-respect)
- model good manners and always be polite
- model honesty, good choices, compassion and healthy expression of emotion
- model non-sexist points of view
- model any behaviour or attitude you want them to adopt
2. BE CLEAR ON WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO
life with young children can be an endless string of “no” and “don’t” and “stop that”. It is important to teach children what not to do, but also show which behaviours are valued
instead of: “don’t hit the kitty!” try: “pet the kitty nicely”
instead of: “stop that whining!” try: “use your words to tell me what you want”
3. PRAISE GOOD BEHAVIOUR
Misbehaviour sometimes gets more of our attention than good behaviour. Praising good behaviour encourages more good behaviour.
“Good job putting your toys away!”
“I like how you share your toys with your sister.”
“Thanks for calling to say you’re going to Tina’s house after school. Now I won’t worry”
Parenting experts say to use 5 “praise statements” for every 1 time you correct misbehaviour.
4. FOCUS ON THE BEHAVIOUR
You love your children but don’t always love their behaviour. When you praise them (or correct misbehaviour) focus on the behavior rather than the qualities of the child
instead of: “you’re a messy boy” try: “I don’t like this mess in the livingroom”
instead of: “you are beautiful” try: “you know how to pick clothes that look great”
When there is violence in the family, don’t assume boys will grow up to be abusers and girls will be victims. If you catch yourself wanting to say these things, STOP.
“you are just like your father!” or “you are acting just like your father!”
5. GIVE THE REASON BEHIND YOUR REQUEST
instead of: “turn that TV down!” try: “Mommy has a headache, if the TV wasn’t so loud I could take a nap”
instead of: “get down from there!” try: I need you to stop climbing on the bookcase because it could fall over on you”
When children understant the reason, they may comply quicker. Over time they do learn that behavior has effects and consequences. They also learn to consider the opinions of others.
6. KEEP EMOTION OUT OF DISCIPLINE, KEEP YOUR VOICE DOWN, REMAIN CALM
All parents get tired and frustrated at times. When children misbehave at the same time, this can be a bad combination. Take time before you react, try counting to three, or ten. Take a deep breath and think about what you are going to say and do. Remember, discipline should be a well thought out strategy designed to teach children, not an emotional reaction.
Do not yell. Children will ignore yelling if that is all they hear. When children live with arguing and yelling, they tend to tune it out. Let your words, not voice volume, get the message across. Yelling should only be used in emergency situations, like chasing a ball in traffic, in order for a child to take notice.
7. GIVE CHANCES TO CHOOSE, BUT NOT WIDE OPEN CHOICE
instead of: “Do you want to go to bed?” try: “Time for bed. Should we read this book or that book?” or “Do you want to wear your red pajamas or your blue pajamas?”
There should be no choice on whether or not the child has to go to bed. The choice for the child is which book to read. Getting a child to bed is easier when they know it is not negitiable and it is a predictable part of their day.
8. EXPECT WHAT IS REASONABLE
Take a young child shopping when it is her nap time and you can expect her to be cranky. Ask a teenager to obey a curfew that is too early for her age, and you can expect her to be defiant. Set your expectations at a level consistent with their age.
9. KEEP ADULT MATTERS AMONG ADULTS
It is not fair to expect a child to be the person to whom you confide your problems. They need you to be in charge and to be their protector. Children too young to understant adult problems may be upset and confused to hear about them.
10. MAKE THE TIME TO SPEND SOME TIME PLAYING OR TALKING
It is important to find the time to spend with each of your children. Children may act out to get the attention they need. If misbehaving is the only way to get your attention, expect the behavior to continue.