Don’t Let your Kid, be just another little Sh#t!

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All too often we see young children dragging their parents around by the arm, demanding things they want, struggling to share with other children, and having an air of entitlement in their tone. These parents are not bad parents and their children are not bad children; they simply lack important parenting skills that can be easily remedy their children’s bad habits. So, just how do you turn a child’s behavior around?

Make Your Family Rules Known and Clear:439bcf21cfdbdd65b0a33d45702e283a

It is a great activity to sit down together and host a “family meeting.” As a group, ask your children guiding questions to help create family rules, then post them where the kids can see them. It can be as simple as Cards posted saying, “We respect each other. We respect our home. We respect the environment” (Define respect to your children so they know what it means, looks like and feels like). Add a picture under each phrase for the non-readers in your home.

You could also make a more specific Picture and Word Chart:

House rules are very important. They are what you fall back on every time your child misbehaves. When you see a bad behavior, ask, “Is that choice following our rules? Are you using a quiet voice, walking feet, etc.” This questioning method develops your child’s ability to assess their own behavior.

Keep redirections short, to the point, and age-appropriate:

Keep in mind your child’s age when redirecting bad behavior. This does not excuse ANY bad behavior due to age; it only influences how you should deliver the behavioral redirection. The goal is for your child to hear the reprimand, understand the message and not do it again. If you inundate a 2-year-old with words, they check out after 4 or 5 words and miss the correction. Keep it short! “Hitting hurts; be gentle,” “We walk inside,” “Kind words please,” or “Throwing breaks things, please stop.”

Alternatively, a correction to a 4-year-old might sound like this, “It hurts me when you hit, please be gentle,” “You sound bossy, I don’t like that,” “Respect the people in this room and lower your voice.”

Did you notice we avoided “No” statements?” Although a strong “NO!” is appropriate at times, phrase the bulk of your redirections in a way that labels the bad choice and what it does (hitting hurts) and follow it up with the behavior you want (be gentle.) This lets your child know how to change their behavior to avoid future reprimands.

Model Good Behavior

Children learn by observing the people around them. As adults, we understand body language, tone of voice, and social cues much better than children. A wife asking her husband to, “Give me that plate,” with an implied please in her tone doesn’t strike either of them as bossy. However, when their child models repeats their words, “Give me my toy,” parents raise their collective eyebrows and add the ”Please,” onto their child’s request. If you want your child to internalize good manners, you have to show them how to do it!

praisePraise Your Child’s Good Behavior.

Positive reinforcement is a powerful way to support your child’s development. Children love compliments, especially from their parents. Praise your child’s good choices! “It was so kind of you to open the door.” “I love how respectfully you asked for help.” “Your toys look so tidy now that you cleaned up.” “You are walking so carefully.” “I noticed you lowered your voice in the library.” Keep your vocabulary rich and specify the behaviors you appreciate.

Be Firm and Make Eye-Contact.parent-child-talk

There is a HUGE difference between yelling at your child and being firm with them. Stern voices, expressions, and body language call attention to your redirection. When you correct a bad choice, everything about you needs to send the message that you expect to be heard and listened to. Some lips will quiver and tears may fall at the change in your energy, but stay the course. Explain that you are not angry at them, but rather using a stern voice to express that you are not happy with their choices. Once the redirection is given and received move on by giving an alternative appropriate choice.

Explain the Expectations of the Places You Go.

Set your child up for success when out and about. Let them know the expectations of the places you go. In a library we…. At the grocery store we…. At the park we… At a birthday party we… At school we… This allows your child to know the rules and not get reprimanded out of ignorance.

Don’t take it Personal:

Your children are going to test their boundaries, make mistakes and throw a few fits. Don’t take it personal. This is how they learn and grow. They push the boundaries, needing you to hold them firm. Stick to the house rules, the schedule, and the expectations each situation calls for. Learn to be firm and not give in to the inappropriate demands of your child.

We hope these 7 tips give you some guidance and help you mold your child into the spectacular adult they will become.

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