How To Positively Discipline A Child
How you react to your child’s behavior profoundly affects how they act in the future. They look up to you, not only to tell them how to behave but also to teach them by example.
Positive Ways to React When Your Child Misbehaves
Reacting too strongly (or not strongly enough) to misbehavior can lead to repeated issues that can last indefinitely. Consider the following advice to correct your child’s behavior and remain a positive influence at the same time.
Keep Your Cool
The most important thing to keep in mind when your child misbehaves is to remain calm. Losing your cool while trying to improve your child’s behavior doesn’t set a positive example of acting in stressful situations.
Always deal with these situations as they come up before you have time to get frustrated. If you’re feeling upset or overwhelmed with your child, let him (or her) know that this behavior is affecting you. Chances are, he’ll probably want to make you feel better.
Don’t Pay Attention to Misbehavior
Children often act out because they are looking for attention, whether it’s positive or not. If yelling or throwing a tantrum proves to be a good way to get your attention, they will undoubtedly keep doing it whenever they see fit.
Of course, you can’t ignore misbehavior completely; you need to make sure your child stays safe. But, try to avoid showing extra attention to him because of negative actions. For example, if your child throws a tantrum because he wants a toy at the store, try telling him that you won’t talk about it until he calms down.
Take Notice of Good Behavior
Children react very positively to encouragement and approval. Make sure that you praise your children for good habits and behavior so that they feel like they’ve done a good job. Not only that – praise also makes your child feel more capable, which is good for self-esteem. If your child gets no encouragement or attention from positive actions, he may turn to misbehavior to feel noticed.
Usually, when parents clearly and firmly demand that their child do something, that child generally knows that there aren’t any other options. However, this isn’t always the case. Use a calm tone of voice when speaking with your child. Let him know that you mean what you say.
If your child tries to talk you into changing your mind, calmly tell him that it isn’t happening and he needs to do as told. Of course, being firm doesn’t mean yelling or being mean to your children. Just don’t give in to them, and eventually, they won’t try to sway you at every opportunity.
Learn to Accept Mistakes
Children make mistakes in how they behave, just like adults sometimes do. It’s important to remember that kids aren’t tiny grown-ups and lack much of the knowledge and experience that many adults have picked up over the years.
Misbehavior may not be desirable, but it is a perfectly normal part of being a kid. By teaching your child how to behave better, rather than simply scolding them for bad behavior, you help to make sure they understand what they can do to behave better from that point forward.
As parents, it’s our job to teach our children how to navigate the world around them. Reacting negatively to misbehavior can affect your kids during their childhood and later when they become parents themselves. Stay firm, patient, and positive, and your kids will develop positive habits too.
Adjusting Your Expectations for Every Family Member
Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting all of your children to do equally well in this world. It’s just another day in the life of a proud parent.
Unfortunately, in most families, not every child is created equal for one reason or another. Some children might even be dealing with a physical or mental disability, substance abuse problems, or something else equally challenging.
That being said, it is possible to adjust your expectations for every family member in your household… even the adults. Other parents are successfully achieving this feat. Read on to learn more.
Defining Your Children
When defining your children, it’s extremely important not to compare one child against another. It’s also vital that you don’t try to fit them into a mold. Every child on this planet is different. No two kids will ever be exactly alike when it comes to things like thoughts and achievements.
Take the time necessary to think about each of your children. Forget what their friends are doing, forget what you’ve heard online or on TV, and forget about what your spouse or partner says about them.
Ask yourself questions such as:
- What are my child’s needs?
- What is my child’s basic temperament?
- Where is my child at regarding development?
- What are my child’s accomplishments?
Once you have answers to these questions, you can start to zero in on your possible expectations.
Discovering Uneven Development
Every child develops at a different rate. So, don’t automatically panic when you think one of your children is a bit behind their peers. In the vast majority of cases, these kids catch up eventually. It just takes a little more time.
At this point, you might want to schedule a meeting with each of your child’s teachers. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help your child with any delays they might be experiencing.
Adjusting to Different Levels
Assessing each of your children’s “reasonable behavior” also means taking their capabilities into account. For example, if one of your children happens to be afraid of heights, you may want to drive to your next vacation destination instead of flying. Don’t just automatically expect that child to get on an airplane and tolerate a long flight with no problem at all.
Always be tolerant of other people’s views when adjusting your expectations of family members. It’s not uncommon for your child’s other parent or adult relative to question your expectations.
If you disagree, sit down with that person and ask them why they feel as they do. Many times in situations like this, agreeing is easier than you think.
From reading this, is it time to adjust your expectations for your family members? If so, there’s no better time to get started. The adjustment typically takes some time, so don’t expect it to happen overnight. But, with due diligence, you’ll accomplish the task before you know it.
How to Overcome Power Struggles with Your Child
When it comes to parenting, doing what’s best for your child often leads to a power struggle between the two of you. If arguing and throwing a tantrum gets children out of something once, they’re probably going to try it again and again. Don’t let it happen.
Here are a few tips regarding avoiding power struggles with your kids.
Give Them a Choice
Children often act out when they feel overpowered or powerless. Simply telling your kids to do something they don’t want to do will likely foster resistance.
So, give them choices when it comes to getting things done. For example, if you clash with your child about finishing homework after school, offer two or three different times to get the homework done.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you are giving them all of the power in the situation. Make it clear to them that if they don’t hold up their end of the deal, they won’t make a choice again in the future.
Avoid the Argument
Any time you get into an argument with your child, you give them the impression that they have the power to challenge what you say. This can lead to them thinking that acting defiant gets them what they want, which in turn causes them to misbehave more.
If your child tries to draw you into an argument over something, don’t give in. Instead, tell them that the discussion is over and leave the room. Walking away takes away all of their power to challenge you since you’re not there to argue anymore.
Keep the Kids Involved
When your kids are involved in setting up rules and routines, they will likely feel better about following these rules in the future. Instead of making these decisions purely on your own, discuss them with them and ask for their input. Keeping them involved in the decision-making helps them feel less overpowered and less likely to act out. Not only that, but their input may also give you insight when it comes to establishing new rules.
For example, if your kids often battle over who gets to sit in the front seat, this probably creates a power struggle between them. At this point, they’ll expect you to choose sides. However, if you work out a schedule together to determine when each one gets to sit up front, they’ll probably be more content waiting for their turn.
Work with Them
If you work at a task alongside your kids, they’ll see it more as something that needs to get done and not just something that you arbitrarily decided to make them do. Your child may see telling them to do something as a challenge but will be happy to lend a hand if they know their help is needed.
If you ask your kids to do housework or clean their room, set a bit of time aside to help with the task. This will make the experience more fun and less bothersome for them. Just remember that you’re there to help, though – not work for them. Don’t let them use you being there as an excuse to do less than their fair share.
The best way to “win” these power struggles with your kids is to avoid them completely. By making your children feel more involved and letting them know that their contribution is appreciated, they will view following the rules as helping you, not losing a battle to you.
Is Your Child Manipulating You?
Studies indicate that manipulative children behave in this way because they are vying for attention and trying to get their parents to listen. These kids feel isolated and have needs that haven’t been met.
Certain types of parents are more likely to fall prey to manipulation. They include:
- Permissive parents
- Overindulgent parents
- Domineering parents
- Single parents
- Overprotective parents
Whether or not you fall into one of these categories isn’t the issue. What is important is knowing how to stop your child from manipulating you successfully. It isn’t an overnight process by any means. But, it CAN be done. Keep reading to learn more.
Spend More Time Together
Regardless of your child’s age, it’s important to spend as much time with them as possible – especially when you notice increased manipulative behavior. This type of bonding makes a child feels safe and secure. It’s an indication that you’re always willing to listen.
Even if your schedule only allows you to spend 15 to 20 minutes of quality time together at a time, try to fit two or three of these blocks into your day. If your child is younger, more time will probably be required. During these times, don’t forget to express your love and appreciation. Doing so might tend to make your child less manipulative.
Set Reasonable Limits
All children need guidance. Setting reasonable limits helps to provide just that. In addition, most children welcome rules. These same rules provide structure in their lives. As your child gets older, less structure is typically necessary.
If your child disagrees with the limits you’ve set forth, hold your ground. At this point, try not to lecture about why a particular rule was put into place. Calmly discussing the situation usually puts things into better perspective – at least enough to keep the peace.
Your child may compare you to other parents who happen to be more lenient about certain issues. But don’t let that sway you. You’re the one who knows what’s best for your child. Don’t let the comparison make you feel less confident in your parenting skills.
Avoid Power Struggles
Avoid power struggles at all costs. If your child refuses to comply with something that you’ve asked them to do, don’t continually insist that it be done immediately. Make your point and reiterate that there will be consequences if the task remains uncompleted. Arguing only makes things worse.
You’ll have an easier time with this if your child’s other parent agrees with you when it comes to discipline. Presenting a united front makes it virtually impossible for children to talk the “weaker” parent into siding with them behind your back.
Using these tips will put you on the right track regarding stopping your child’s manipulative behavior. One of the most important things to remember is not to give up.
It is entirely possible to correct this situation. A manipulative child is never too young or old to change. Typically, the sooner you get started working on the problem, the better.
Seeing Each Child as an Individual
If you assess the way your child is developing by comparing him (or her) to other children, you may be burdening him with self-esteem issues that carry over to both his teen and adult years.
While comparing the progress and success of peers is a normal practice in our society, it can be very damaging to young people. This is because of the important developmental milestones that occur during childhood.
It’s vital to recognize that children don’t all develop simultaneously, and feelings of inadequacy may only make their developmental progress that much is harder to monitor. Here are some of the reasons why.
Your Child May Resent You
Being compared to their classmates or siblings can make your child feel resentful toward you. The pressure to meet your expectations can lead to feelings of anxiousness or sadness. They’ll feel like you’re unhappy with them and try to distance themselves from the source that is the cause of their discomfort. This can lead to a child who no longer trusts you enough to seek your help or guidance on the unfamiliar subject matter.
It’s not uncommon for memories of our childhood to resurface in our adult lives and affect us in some way. This is especially true if the memory often occurred during childhood.
Events that have a strong negative impact on your child could lead to issues with self-worth or self-esteem later in life. And, while you didn’t intend for your words to be hurtful, your child may not understand it at the time and only remember it as a painful memory.
While giving praise to children is encouraged, it can do more harm than good if it’s implemented negatively. Telling your child that they are better than their siblings or peers can lead to feelings of superiority over those around them.
It also teaches that it’s ok to put down others to feel good about yourself. Of course, it’s important to give praise for accomplishments. But, it’s best to do so in a way that paints them as “good at something,” rather than “better than people at something.”
Ways to Stop Comparing
It’s never a wise idea to compare your child to others. Whether or not their test scores in a certain class are higher than everyone else’s, the important thing to do is to show appreciation for the effort your child makes.
Help them set realistic goals for improving their abilities and encourage them to ask you for help if they need it. Above all, be sure your child knows that your approval does not depend on how popular or outgoing they are. Support them at all times and let them know that you’ll be there for them regardless.
Taking steps to treat your child as an individual allows him to effectively develop into his unique self, rather than a person he’s pressured into becoming. For example, he may have potential in music class but never develop the talent because he feels pressured to play sports.
Remember, the goal is to treat your child like a strong individual, so they will grow up to be a strong and appreciative adult.
Small Behavior Problems Parents Should Not Ignore
As a parent, it’s very tempting to let smaller, less important issues go unnoticed. To some extent, however, it’s important to pick your battles. Why? Some behavioral problems can lead to worse issues in the future if they aren’t dealt with immediately.
Here are five minor behavioral issues that you may regret ignoring, along with what you can do to correct them.
If your child is eager to tell you something, they may ask you right in the middle of a task or conversation. It may not be much of a problem to stop giving your child the attention they’re looking for. But in doing so, they may feel even more entitled to your attention and develop a habit of interrupting you in the future.
If your child yells or tugs on your arm to get your attention, tell him (or her) that he won’t get what he wants by interrupting. Don’t give in to him until he waits patiently for you to finish.
Pretending Not to Hear You
If your child gets away with not doing what you tell him to do until after you’ve told him a few times, he’ll think that he’s in charge of deciding when to do what you’re asking. Reminding a child to do what you asked teaches them that they can wait until they think you start to get serious.
Always make sure your child pays attention to you when you talk to him. Get him to respond to show that he is listening to you. If the behavior continues, you may need to impose a consequence on getting him to see that not listening is not an option.
Of course, if your child hits another child, this represents a situation that demands attention right away. But, many parents pay less attention to “less serious” forms of aggressive behavior, such as pinching and pushing. When this type of incident occurs, it’s still important to deal with it immediately. Don’t wait.
Not Seeking Permission
It doesn’t take long for children to start preparing snacks independently, rather than asking for help getting them. However, giving them control of eating or performing certain activities doesn’t help teach them to follow the rules.
It’s best to have an established set of rules for the household instead of letting your child behave as he pleases. This gives him a constant set of rules to follow and adjust to instead of teaching him to make the rules for himself.
Stretching the Truth
If your child exaggerates or lies about something that doesn’t matter, it may not seem like a big deal. But, lying easily becomes a habit that kids often turn to to get out of chores or trouble.
If your child lies about something, make sure you let him know that it’s important. Tell him that lying hurts other people’s feelings and makes people leery of what they have to say. Kids will likely slow down on exaggerating if they realize that it is not as harmless as it seems.
These behaviors may be of little or no harm now. But, try to steer your child away from them all the same.
If your kid often acts without permission, it’s important that you help him realize that this behavior is inappropriate or even dangerous. It’s better to deal with the issue now than to deal with the repercussions of a child acting impulsively in the future.
Ways to Discipline Ungrateful Children
Almost every child goes through an ungrateful stage (or stages) during childhood. It’s just a part of life. The good news is that when it comes to disciplining these children, it CAN be done. Better yet, it’s probably easier than you think.
Here are several strategies to consider.
Point Out the Ungrateful Attitude
Remember that young children especially don’t realize that they’re ungrateful. You have to point the issue out to them. Once your child has been properly disciplined, talk about some of the things to be grateful for.
Explain that not everyone is lucky enough to have these things and that it’s not right to take them for granted. Expand on the subject now and then, just as a gentle reminder.
Make a Deal
Don’t beat yourself up for making a “deal” with your child every once in a while. For example, if he (or she) persists in asking you if he can read a book for thirty minutes after bedtime, tell him that you’re willing to make a compromise. Set a timer for 15 minutes instead. This way, everybody is happy.
Stand Your Ground
In the event your child won’t do as you say when disciplined, stand your ground if you sound like a “broken record,” it’s ok. It is. Sometimes it’s the only thing that works. There’s nothing wrong with being sympathetic and listening to what he has to say.
However, if the discussion comes to a standstill, don’t be afraid to end it and walk away firmly.
It’s important to treat your child with respect, even during your most stressful moments. Exhibiting stress allows him to take advantage of the situation and makes things worse instead of better.
Allow Privileges When Earned
At least for the majority of the time, it’s best only to allow privileges when earned. This way, children learn that they need to follow the rules to participate in activities and get rewarded with some of the things they ask for. Always reinforce positive behavior as well. This makes children feel good and reminds them that they’re on the right track.
Giving children toys or other gifts to get them to act less ungratefully doesn’t work. It causes more serious problems.
Focus on Helping Others
When you focus more on helping others, you’ll probably find that your child’s self-centered attitude will improve. Of course, this won’t happen overnight. But, the more helpful children become, the more their outlook on gratefulness changes.
As an added benefit, helping others fosters kindness and empathy as well. Both of these attributes will follow your child to adulthood, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.
Child development experts tell us that ungrateful children typically don’t grow up exceedingly selfish or greedy. It’s something that most kids grow out of by the age of 8 or 9. So, there’s no need to panic.
The best thing to do is to stay as calm as possible when these situations arise. Be firm, and the crisis will pass. Remember, it’s all in a day’s work of a parent.
What Are You Teaching Your Child by Being Inconsistent?
As a parent, it’s important to be as consistent as possible to create a healthy living environment for you and your family. Of course, no plan is perfect, so occasional deviation is certainly permitted.
Problems occur when inconsistency becomes more commonplace.
Being inconsistent affects your child in several ways. In addition, it teaches him (or her) that inconsistency is perfectly acceptable. This is something that you don’t want to happen. Please continue reading to learn more about how children can be affected when there is inconsistency in their lives.
Anxiety and Fear
Many children who don’t have parental consistency at home find themselves dealing with high levels of anxiety and fear. Much of it comes from not knowing the consequences of doing something wrong. Inconsistent rules are like a mystery.
A child might expect a certain consequence for one of his actions. When the resulting consequences aren’t as expected, this generally causes anxiety and confusion.
Rebellious behavior is the result of many things. One of those things is ambivalence. When a parent doesn’t follow through on things or frequently breaks promises, this can result in rebellion. In turn, rebellion often leads to parental rejection and the need for a child to get attention by exhibiting risky behavior to convey feelings of anger and discontent.
Did you know that being inconsistent sometimes causes a role reversal between parent and child? It’s true! In this situation, the child typically sacrifices their own needs and effort to care for the emotional needs of the parent and other siblings, if applicable.
It is not uncommon for children in this setting to nurture parents. The reasoning behind this is to bond with the parent to gain trust and try to settle into an otherwise absent routine.
Insecurity and Confusion
In a home lacking consistency, a child’s insecurity and confusion surface at a very early age. Lack of security in a child’s daily routine can be detrimental. It’s not uncommon for children like this to wonder if their parents will give them emotional support during troubling times.
Even things like mealtime and bedtime can get confusing in a household that has no real schedule. One night dinner may be served at 5 pm and the next night at 8 pm. Children need structure to thrive. Inconsistency and structure go together like oil and water. They don’t mix.
It’s worth mentioning that everyone, adults and children alike, receives inconsistent messages all of the time. The good news is that experts tell us that the human brain is meant to handle complexity. This means that many children do a better job sorting out these somewhat fuzzy messages better than some people think.
Now that you’ve read the above, you may want to make a few changes. If so, remember that there’s no reason to panic. You probably won’t need to overhaul your parenting methods completely.
Depending on your situation, a few “consistency tweaks” will probably be all it takes. Not only will the future be better for your child, but it’ll also be less stressful for you.
When Should a Parent Seek Professional Help for Their Child
As a parent, it’s sometimes difficult to determine when to seek professional help for your child. There is no “set-in-stone” answer to this dilemma because every family situation is different.
However, several warning signs typically indicate the need for some therapy. Keep in mind that these warning signs vary depending on the age of the child in question. Here are a few of them to consider.
At home, one of the first things to watch out for is sudden isolation. If your child is usually outgoing but suddenly rather spend most of his (or her) free time in his room, there may be a serious problem.
In addition, if your child refuses to do chores or argues with you regularly, it may be time to consider professional intervention. Other signs to watch out for include frequent crying spells or bouts with hyperactivity – especially when these things were never a problem before.
Trouble sleeping and being hurtful to siblings are two more red flags. If your child doesn’t respond to disciplinary measures appropriately, is dealing with some phobia, or seems “joyless,” don’t rule out counseling as a possible solution.
Since you don’t spend the day at school with your child, you typically have to rely on information provided by teachers and other school personnel. If you receive notification that your child is misbehaving in the classroom, professional help may be a solution.
Children who no longer want to go to school or have extreme difficulty doing their homework all of a sudden sometimes benefit from therapy. Some children who experience anxiety issues refuse to talk to anyone about their day or often come home from school angry. This is another reason to consider therapy as an option.
Does your child get into frequent fights? Does he lack confidence, especially when participating in extracurricular activities? Do his friendships seem to end quickly? These are all indications that he could benefit from professional counseling.
It’s extremely difficult to excel in this world without being socially comfortable. Getting help at an early age, when necessary, helps to ensure greater success as your child grows to adulthood.
Legal issues are another reason that a child might ultimately need professional counseling. If they have been arrested, are caught stealing, lies frequently, or have a bad attitude toward all authority figures, this can lead to serious legal problems.
If this is something that you are currently dealing with, there’s no better time to seek assistance. The longer you wait, the higher the chance that legal problems will follow your child for many years to come.
Unfortunately, the thought of therapy is “taboo” in some households. But, what these parents need to remember is that seeing a counselor enforces that it’s the absolute best way to curb and correct destructive behavior. The typical alternative of substance abuse or self-harm is much worse.
Therapy has two outcomes – either it’s successful, or it isn’t. Never expect your child to be “cured” after just one or two sessions. The professional analysis takes time and patience. If your child does not seem to communicate well with their initial therapist, don’t give up. Ask for a referral and try again. Many times, a second time is a charm.
It’s extremely important to remember that seeking professional help for your child doesn’t automatically mean you’re a bad parent in the vast majority of cases. It means you’re a concerned parent who has your child’s best interest at heart.
Why Picking Your Battles Is Important
As a parent, you’ll find yourself giving scads of bad news to your kids. Somebody has to tell them that they can’t stay up past their bedtime or eat ice cream for breakfast, right? The task is probably going to be left to you, and your kids aren’t always going to agree.
Unfortunately, if you clash with them over everything they do wrong, it’ll be exhausting for all of you. Read on for tips on why and how you need to choose your battles.
Save Yourself the Effort
If you try to correct your child every time they misbehave, you’ll wear yourself out in no time. Not only that but constantly correcting a toddler or young child while they’re trying to learn how the world works can be challenging for everybody.
Take a minute to decide if your child’s behavior needs correcting or if it’s just a harmless phase. Telling a child not to take a favorite stuffed animal on car trips can be a struggle, but they may lose interest if you let them do it a few times first.
Teach Your Child to Listen
If all your child hears is the word “no,” they’ll eventually start to tune it out. They’ll get so used to being told that they can’t have things, they’ll develop a habit of coming up with ways to get them anyway.
Instead of just saying no, try suggesting alternatives to the issue you’re handling. If you can’t get them to stop coloring on your walls, try giving them some paper to color on instead. This solution might get what they’re doing out of their system.
Parents often devote too much focus to the short-term goal of stopping bad behavior and raise kids that obey the rules rather than making wise decisions.
Knowing Which Battles to Choose
Unless you want to spend every moment on high alert for misbehavior, it’s important to decide what sorts of issues you want to stand your ground on.
As far as most parents are concerned, safety and health are the two biggest issues they hold firm. Your child may mean well, but they don’t always keep their well-being in mind when they make decisions.
Beyond that, it is up to you to determine which behaviors pose a problem and which are simply bothersome. Try to imagine your child as an adult. Think about their behavior now. Which issues are not acceptable for adults? You’ll want to steer your child away from those.
Keep Things Consistent
The best way to make sure that your child follows the rules and routines you layout for them is to enforce them consistently. If they aren’t allowed up past 9 pm on a school night, make sure to stick with it.
Even one night of bending the rules lets your child know that your rules are “bendable.” No matter how small the issue, make sure that the house rules are always the rules.
The good news is, if you’ve been inconsistent in dealing with an issue in the past, it’s not too late to improve the situation. Come up with a set of rules, go over them with your child and adhere to them.
When a parent argues with their children, they teach them to fight for control of the situation. By choosing when to put your foot down and by keeping these battles from becoming hostile in the first place, you’re making sure that a disagreement with your child is something that they learn from rather than resent.
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