Parenting during the first five years is certainly the most rewarding and enjoyable experience but also physically and emotionally demanding.
This in fact is the golden period for parents (i.e. 2 to 5 years of your child) where you can form the childâ€™s character. This is because the children of this age are very innocent and know only the language of love and affection. They are just like a ball of clay; you can mould and give them the shape you like. They also have tremendous grasping power. As per the research on child psychology a child can grasp almost 50% of the knowledge of life.
Once you have a clear picture of your childâ€™s behaviour pattern, you are ready to change it by triggers and consequences. You may have to try and ignore certain behavioural pattern, try not to give in, remove certain privileges, look and sound as if you mean it when asking your child to do something. Most importantly concentrate on encouraging and rewarding good behaviour all the time!
How to Cope Positively With Difficult Child Behaviour?
1.Establish House Rules: Make simple rules for your child. Start with a few "things we do and don't do." Discuss about them with your child.
2. Prevention Is Better Than Cure: If you feel that your child's behaviour is beginning to go out of control, try distracting your child's attention onto a positive activity or game. (Use the proverbâ€Nip it at the budâ€ means cut the bad habits at the bud stage only)
3. Understand Your Child's Behavior: Define simply and clearly any difficult behaviour. Keep a diary of what led to such behaviour and what immediately followed it. From this, see if there is a pattern. What are the triggers and consequences which might be keeping the behaviour going? DON'T blame yourself but work at changing your responses.
4.Discipline with Short Time-Outs: Try to view discipline in a different way e.g. if a rule is broken, discipline them with short time-outs. For e.g. Make them sit quiet for five minutes, not allowing them to play for some time, alternatively ignore minor behaviour difficulties as your attention will often inadvertently encourage the very behaviour you want to stop.
5. Take Five: When tensions and anger rise in you or your child, count five. Take five minutes to cool down and to ask yourself, "Why am I getting so angry?" Try to identify the real problem and then find the solution. Always control your temper.
6. Never Strike in Anger: Research has shown that hitting your child does not help, and can do more damage. Try to avoid striking your child in anger. Smacking is not effective in reducing poor behaviour, as it does not teach children good behaviour.
7. Don't Yell or shout at children: Try to avoid yelling at your children in anger. Do not put down your children. If they break a rule, tell them what they did was wrong and why that makes you angry. Be angry at what they did, NOT at who they are (i.e. blame the work of the child and not the child).
8. Get Away: When you feel frustrated, angry or uncontrollable, let your feelings not affect your children. Go out. Take a walk.
Ways to Give Your Child Trust
1. Be There: Talk to your child. What was their day like? Be available. Encourage your child to express feelings creatively by keeping a diary or through drawing.
2. Be Consistent: Establish a reliable routine. A clear and consistent routine helps a child feel safe and secure.
3. Let Your "No" Be Strong No: If you say "no" to your child, make sure you both understand what that means and keep to the rule. Do not shout. Your child must know that your "No" means an absolute No.
4. Never compare: Go with the pace of the individual child. Do not compare your child with any other child or with the sibling from the same family.
Set a good example for your children:
Children often learn how to act by observing how their parents act. For example, if parents handle frustrations well, their children will probably learn to handle their own frustrations well. If parents swear and become upset when things don't go well, their children may learn to act the same way. Parents should avoid resorting to the old saying "Do as I say, not as I do."*Don't take your children's good behaviour for granted:
Parents should praise their children when they behave with manners instead of just waiting to praise them only when they do something special. Parents should give their children the message that they notice appropriate behaviour as much as (they notice) inappropriate behaviour. Catch them being good!
*Give your children lot of verbal and physical affection:
Frequent physical contact between parents and their children (such as hugging or brief "love pats") is very important. This positive affection should be provided on a regular basis whenever children are behaving appropriately. Parents should avoid providing this affection soon after their children have misbehaved.
*Discipline should be immediate and should be administered in a matter-of-fact manner:
Parents need to avoid becoming upset while disciplining their children. Short time-out and grounding techniques can be very effective if they are used correctly. After being punished, children should start with a clean slate. Parents should not remind or nag their children about their misbehaviour or past behaviour which was wrong.
*Be consistent and predictable with your children:
Children function best when they know what to expect. Parents should make it very clear exactly what are and are not acceptable behaviours. Children's appropriate and inappropriate behaviour should be handled in a similar manner by both parents (e.g., both parents should use the same punishment techniques for misbehaviour). Consistency is not only important between parents. It is also important from day-to-day for individual parents. Parental management of children's behaviour from one day to another should not vary according to parental mood. Rather, it should always be based on their children's behaviour.
*How directions are given to children can have an effect on whether or not the children will follow them:
Parents should make eye contact with their children before giving a direction. Yelling directions from another room is often not very successful. Directions should be given in a very specific and concise manner. Parents should avoid giving vague directions such as "Be good." A parent's idea of being good and their children's idea of being good may be very different. Parents should praise their children when they follow directions. They should also be prepared to enforce directions their children do not follow. If parents do not enforce directions, children learn that their parents don't mean what they say. Parents should avoid giving more than one warning following a direction.
*Make rules clear and specific. Parents should avoid making rules that they cannot or may not enforce:
Enforcement of rules should be as a matter-of-fact the penalty for breaking rules should be stated in advance. When a rule is broken, children should be appropriately punished (e.g., Short time-out).
*Let your children help with as many everyday tasks as possible:
Most children enjoy spending time helping their parents, and it can also be a good learning experience. With younger children, "helping" may involve pretend work in the same area.
*Closely monitor your children:
For younger children, parents should praise them when they are behaving well. Parents should avoid the trap of not wanting to disturb children while they are behaving well. Parents should make sure they know where their children are and what they are doing.
*Avoid lecturing, nagging, yelling, and screaming to manage your children's behaviour. These approaches are typically not effective and often make problems worse:
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