As parents, one of the most challenging jobs we have is to teach our children to behave appropriately. It is a job that takes time and patience; though challenging and sometimes daunting, it pays off if done right.
Spanking, physical abuse, and harsh words do not work well in correcting a child’s behavior. The same holds for yelling or shaming your child. All these very negative approaches to fixing a child’s behavior are ineffective, but they can also cause damage to a child’s physical and mental health in the long run.
A healthy and more effective strategy for behavior management is to focus on teaching good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior.
Healthy discipline strategies
These strategies will help you as a parent effectively teach your child to manage their behavioral changes while promoting healthy development.
1. BE A ROLE MODEL
Teach your child right from wrong with calm words and actions. Children learn better from our efforts than what we say; therefore, model behaviors you would like to see in your child.
2. SET LIMITS
Set clear, realistic, and consistent rules your child can follow. Be sure to explain these rules in age-appropriate terms your child will understand. It would also be great if restrictions apply to you and the adults in the same household. This way, everyone is accountable for their actions.
3. DISCUSS CONSEQUENCES
Calmly but firmly explains the consequences of breaking set rules and misbehaving. But remember, never take away anything your child truly needs, such as a meal.
Hear your child out! Give adequate room for your child to share whatever may be bothering them before helping to solve the problem; this enables you to understand your child better. Watch for times when misbehavior has a pattern, and talk with your child about this rather than just giving consequences.
5. GIVE YOUR CHILD NEEDED ATTENTION
The most powerful tool for effective discipline is attention—to reinforce good behaviors and discourage others. Sometimes, all your child wants is your attention, so they try to get it- positively or negatively.
6. REWARD GOOD BEHAVIOUR
Children need to know when they do something bad—and when they terrible something good. Notice good behavior and point it out, praising success and good tries.
7. SILENCE WORKS, SOMETIMES
Know when not to respond. As long as your child isn‘t doing something dangerous and gets plenty of attention for good behavior, ignoring bad behavior can be an effective way of stopping it & also teach children the natural consequences of their actions.
8. REDIRECT BAD BEHAVIOUR
Sometimes children misbehave because they are bored or don‘t know any better. When this happens, find something more productive & engaging for your child to do.
BABIES: Generally, babies do not need discipline. They can barely grasp the concept of good versus bad behavior. However, this doesn’t mean that babies don’t do things that require consequences. The key is to create a safe and child-proof environment, devoid of harmful or essential objects, so that babies can explore their world safely. However, if they develop behaviors such as hitting or touching things they should not, they can be redirected.
TODDLERS: If you have a toddler, your vocabulary will be filled with “o-no, stop that, come here!” You have to decide which behaviors are stepping over the line and require consequences. these should be communicated in simple terms to your toddler. Other behaviors can be redirected much like you would do with them in the baby phase.
PRESCHOOLERS: Most of the time, preschoolers tend to be sweet, imaginative, and cooperative. But they are still learning to get along with others, and they may struggle with emotional regulation.
SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN: At this age, the era of time-outs comes to a halt. Alone or quiet time in their room works well for attitude adjustments and mood swings; removing certain privileges such as not watching their favorite TV program or taking away their electronics gets them on their toes and ready to behave as expected.
Most importantly, a great dose of love, flexibility, respect, and understanding of your child makes parenting much more accessible; in all of these, discipline comes into play because, above all, you want your child to develop an emotionally healthy adult.
Behaviour Management at home/school
When it comes to managing your child’s behavior, it is more feasible when we have them at home under our watch where all the above rules and discipline strategies can be applied; however, if done properly, family rules and agreed consequences apply irrespective of where your child may be or whether or not you are there. So, how do you regulate or monitor your child’s behavior while in school?
ESTABLISH REGULAR COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL. If your child’s misbehavior is an isolated incident, monitor their progress for a few days to make sure it gets better. However, if your child is getting in trouble at school often, it might be helpful to establish daily communication with their class teacher or a school head.
ASK FOR THE BEST WAY TO COMMUNICATE. Seeking the best way to keep tabs on your child takes some pressure off school. They may prefer a regular phone call or a note in your child’s bag, instead of the wing-up every morning. It’s best to work with the school so that everyone involved is comfortable.
ATTEND SCHOOL EVENTS AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. This way, you are up-to-date with the happenings in school and familiar with your child’s teachers & caregivers. It would also be easy for you to communicate with your child’s school when necessary.
WORK AS A TEAM: Collaborating with the school & supporting their efforts goes a long way in gaining their trust. This way, they work better with you, all to your child’s benefit.
Does your child find it difficult to manage their frustration, constantly get into trouble in school, disobey adults, and regularly defy your authority?
You may need specialist support to help your child develop skills to handle their emotions better and establish a warm relationship with you.
We run a disruptive behavior program for children 5 to 12 years. Call 234-7064931025 today to speak to our consultant developmental child psychologist or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you like to fill out a contact form or book a consultation with one of our experts, please click here.