All parents hope to have cooperative, well behaved children, but promoting good behaviour in children takes time and effort. Kids misbehave at times – even really good kids, but teaching children to be cooperative and obedient is well worth the trouble.
Sometimes, parents refrain from disciplining young children, assuming that they do not yet have the mental capacity to understand what is expected of them. Unfortunately, this misconception can result in toddlers that are out of control and if the kids are not reined in, children that are wild and disrespectful all throughout their youth.
Toddlers and preschool aged children can learn to control their own behaviour and choose actions that get positive reactions from their parents. While parents may have to sometimes utilise time outs or other punishments for disobedience, most teaching can be done through the use of positives to acknowledge appropriate behaviour. Smiles, warm hugs, and kudos for good behaviour not only reinforce the actions that parents like to see, but help to build children’s self-esteem, as well.
School Aged Kids and Beyond
By the time that kids are in school full time, they have the ability to understand not only what is expected of them in terms of behaviour, but oftentimes, why. This ability to grasp concepts such as fairness, consideration for others, respect, and thoughtfulness makes it possible for parents to communicate the reasoning behind their expectations. Most parents do not simply invent random guidelines for their children’s behaviour, but have specific rules in place to teach the children how to be kind, responsible, and productive members of society. Explaining the reasons that people are expected to behave in certain ways can help encourage children’s willingness to comply with requests, since most kids would like to be viewed as “good” and “helpful.”
Incentives for Good Behaviour
It’s no surprise that kids (and the rest of us) respond well to positive consequences, repeating behaviours that offer good results. Few people enjoy disappointing those around them or setting themselves up for punishment, so it is important for parents to notice and compliment their children when they are behaving well. All too often, adults focus on the things that kids do wrong, rather than pointing out the good qualities and actions of children. Providing positive feedback for good deeds will encourage kids to stay on the right track.
Providing Good Role Models
Parents are the most influential role models that children have and most kids learn how to interact with others by watching their parents. It is vital that parents not only conduct themselves in a respectable fashion, but require that their children’s other adult caregivers do so, as well. Children are very impressionable and while they may listen to lectures and commands for a time, they will ultimately take more information from how they see the adults in their lives behaving. Parents who are consistent in living up to their responsibilities, are polite, and practice what they preach will likely raise children who behave similarly. Making good life choices and providing children with sound examples of appropriate behaviour is one of the most important jobs that parents have.