Everyone wants to blame kids for the problems in society. Adults want to blame someone for their kids behaviour. No matter what we believe, we should try to help our children. I believe in the firm but fair approach. Children will listen to a firm, but encouraging voice over a ranting looney.
Jane Nelsen, author of “Positive Discipline” endorses this theory too:
The key is to be kind and firm at the same time
Your child is not bad. They just sometimes make bad choices.
It is our job as adults, parents, carers and teachers to help children make the right choices.
Top tips for you to try…
1. Ignore the bad, praise the good
Praise has more impact than a lecture. Sometimes kids misbehave for attention, they are pushing the boundaries to gain a reaction. They quickly learn that they get a reaction from inappropriate behaviour. Instead of reacting to bad behaviour, over-react to the good.
2. Focus on the positive
As adults, parents and teachers we have a tendency to look for the bad. Instead of looking for the bad things in your child’s behaviour, try to find the good. Don’t catch your child making bad choices, catch them doing something good. We must praise, praise, praise our children to let them know their good choices are noticed and appreciated.
3. Praise others in proximity
If you have more than one child and one is showing positive behaviour, praise that child in front of the other. The other child will hear and begin to mimic the ‘praised’ child’s actions. It works like a charm in a classroom full of kids.
4. Diffuse the situation
Stay calm. Rather than enter a confrontation, gently remind your child that their behaviour is unacceptable and suggest a more appropriate activity or demonstrate a more appropriate approach to the situation. Use another child as a guide if there is one e.g. ‘Look at James, he is playing really nicely, can we try that. It looks like lots of fun.’ Remove the child from the situation to a different activity in a non confrontational way to avoid a tantrum.
5. Talk about their feelings
Often children’s actions are reflective of their mood. Ask your child to tell you how they feel. Remind them it is ok to have feelings such as anger, sadness etc. Help them to deal with the emotions and come to a conclusion of what you both can do to make them feel better.
6. Punish the behaviour, not the child
The last thing you want is for your child to adopt a label and always feel like the ‘bad child.’ If you tell them enough times that ‘they’ are bad, they will develop low self esteem. When dealing with an issue, use your words carefully to make sure the child understands it is the action that is not acceptable, not the child.
Quick simple strategies to deal with behaviour problems
- Set the standards and expectations for your child. Talk about the behaviour you expect/ do not expect in all situations.
- Always carry through with threats/punishments.
- Always stick to promises of rewards.
- Set a routine you can stick to. If it is usually 3 warnings before a punishment then stick to this. No more, no less. Your child needs routine.
- Praise often.
I found this interesting article that has lots more interesting and useful ideas to encourage discipline and the need for positive behaviour management.
What strategies do you use with your child?