Being a parent can be the easiest task for some and a battle for others. I have had few parents attend my clinic seeking advice on managing their child’s behavior. Here you go, these are a few parenting tips.
Parents have different styles of managing their children. Some of them go by the rules and can be rigid while others are lenient and flexible. What is the right way of parenting? Why do we feel some kids are well behaved than others? Is it to do with the parenting styles or is it the personality of the child that determines their behavior. Well, it’s a bit of both. How do we tackle this problem? Can we as parents alter our own behavior and facilitate a better environment at home? Here are some valuable tips –reference to Dr Christopher Green, author of a few books on child psychiatry.
1-Children need to have a routine and structure to the day – equally parents should be flexible and give their children a sense of control over trivial matters.
2-Be available for your children, it’s not always just the quality time but your child needs you to be with them, to share their thoughts, to do things with them. They need to feel listened to. With the new technologies, I often find parents present with the children but busy on iphones/ipads. This is of no use as you are emotionally not available to them.
3-Set some rules at home – these should be shared with the child and other family members. The child should be aware of the possible consequences of their behavior – for example, a parent should inform the child that if he hits anyone, he will not be allowed to play with his friends. If he does not do his homework, he does not get to watch TV, etc. Punishments should be appropriate for the actions not too extreme though. These rules should be put in action and the child should have the consequences that were explained, if not your child might not take you seriously and they know mummy/daddy just say it but don’t actually do it.
4-Consistency is very important. A child’s behavior should be managed in the same way by all the family members; this will help the child understand the consequences of bad behavior. If they find parents disagreeing on the punishments, the child will be confused as to what’s right and wrong. Also in some cases, grandparents chip in and become the goodies while parents are baddies. I would suggest the child get the same message from everyone in the house and the rewards and punishments are consistent.
5-Rewards should be subtle. I have seen parents who offer their children chocolates to shake hands with me or to talk to me. Don’t spoil your child. Sometimes small praises are enough. Other times, rewards are appropriate. Rewards don’t always have to be toys, money, sweets, etc. it can be some extra time with friends, TV, a book, you taking them to a park, spending extra time with them. Of course! every child has different interest and the rewards might vary accordingly.
6-Don’t nag at your children. Treat them the way you would like to be treated by others. If you have punished the child, forgive fast and move ahead. Don’t drag matters.
7-Communicate well with your child. Make eye contact and show them that you are interested. Listen to them and reciprocate.
8- Affirmations are important. Praise them for small things. We often forget to praise as we focus more on the negatives like what could have been done better. Reward good behavior. Change your focus from seeing the bad; instead keep looking for the good.
9-Force and confrontation towards the children might lead to opposition and resentment. If you hit the child or use heavy discipline, it will lead to aggression and rebel in the child. Try not to escalate the situation. If parents remain calm, children are easier to control.
10-Do not pay too much attention to unimportant behaviors. Let them pass. If you have punished the child, forgive fast and move ahead, don’t drag the matters and don’t keep mentioning them repeatedly over trivial matters.
I hope these few tips help you in managing your children slightly better in your busy day-to-day lives.