Parents may never know why their kids’ behaviour is the way it is, but there are ways that parents can curb inappropriate behaviour from their children. Discussing appropriate behaviour, describing inappropriate behaviour, praising kids for good behaviour, disciplining kids for bad behaviour and most of all separating the children from their behaviour are all ways that parents can encourage good behaviour and curb inappropriate behaviour.
Discussing Appropriate Behaviour
It’s only fair to assume that until children are taught appropriate behaviour they won’t know what is right and what is wrong. Teaching children appropriate behaviour will require parents to tell them explicitly what is good behaviour and to model this behaviour in front of the kids. Learning these behaviours will be up to the kids, and different kids learn different lessons in different ways and in different amounts of time. However, most kids can begin to learn about appropriate behaviour from age three.
Describing Inappropriate Behaviour
Just as parents must directly address the issue of appropriate behaviour so too must they describe inappropriate behaviour. Parents do not necessarily need to act out inappropriate behaviour, for example slapping someone is not needed to illustrate the point, but in order to curb inappropriate behaviour kids must understand that the behaviour is wrong and why it is wrong. Teaching kids these lessons early when they are open to learning about how they should act will help them remember these points as they grow.
Praising Good Behaviour
Once children understand what is good behaviour parents should praise them when they display examples of it. For example, children who pick up their toys should be acknowledged with praise. Children who engage in good behaviour under particularly trying circumstances may benefit from the odd reward. However, rewards should be used sparingly lest children begin to associate good behaviour with treats and then only perform good behaviours in order to gain the reward.
Disciplining Bad Behaviour
Disciplining children for bad behaviours is an important way to remind them that their actions have not been appropriate. However, discipline must carry this message so that kids know why their parents are unhappy, why their actions were wrong and what they could have done instead. Punishing children, which seeks only to make a child feel bad in a way that may not be related to their actions, should be avoided.
Separating Children From Their Behaviour
Curbing inappropriate behaviour requires parents to highlight a child’s bad behaviours and to direct them towards more appropriate alternatives. If children begin to feel that they are always in trouble or can never do anything right then they may begin to assume that they themselves are bad, stupid or disappointing. Parents must make sure that these thoughts do not take hold. Instead parents should always be careful to admonish children for the behaviour, to instruct that the behaviour was inappropriate and to discuss what behaviours would have been a better choice.
By stressing the behaviours, rather than the children, parents can be relatively confident that their kids will not begin to believe that they are inherently bad. To be sure of this parents can chat with their kids about their behaviour and stress that the kids themselves are brilliant and can make great choices going forward.
Curbing inappropriate behaviour takes great attention from parents. Parents must discuss appropriate and inappropriate behaviours, model appropriate behaviours, praise good behaviours, discipline bad behaviours and separate the children from their behaviour as they teach their children how best to behave.
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