How are those behaviour management tips coming along?
Last time we talked about 3 strategies: establish clear rules and expectations, frame it positively and keep your cool (easier said than done, I’ll readily admit!). For those of you just joining us, you can see the full post here.
Now let’s pick up where we left off and unpack some more behaviour management tricks of the parenting trade.
1. Respond proportionately
Whatever discipline method you have chosen to use, remember that discipline should be in proportion to the misdemeanour.
Accidentally breaking a plate is not as serious as deliberately smashing all of the crockery on the kitchen floor.
Telling your child they can never watch television again because they didn’t turn it off when you said to is out of proportion to their behaviour. It will also be very difficult for you to enforce and probably end up being a decision you regret.
So think carefully about consequences to behaviour. As far as possible, think consequences through in advance and avoid making threats in the heat of the moment.
2. Be consistent
It’s the golden rule of parenting.
Just as you wouldn’t change the rules of a game half way through (well, not if you expect the other players to keep playing and like it), it is unreasonable and confusing to change expectations of your children as you go. Children are big on fairness and will let you know if they feel your behaviour is not up to scratch!
So be consistent. Your rules and expectations should be consistent and predictable, no matter who they apply to. Likewise your responses to inappropriate behaviours. Your “yes” should mean “yes” and never “no”, and your “no” should mean “no” and never “yes”…including when the kidlets have been whinging and whining and carrying on and you’re tempted to give in to them “just this once”.
Hang in there! Be consistent.
3. Know you’re a model.
While it might be tempting to tell your children, “Do as I say, not as I do” the fact is that your children are watching you and will learn from the example you set.
Like it or not, you’re a model! So be aware of the little people keeping a close eye on the touch of road rage you exhibit on the way home or the polite manner with which you treat a frustrating cashier or the way you engage with your partner at the end of a long day, or how you respond when the kids keep grabbing your phone.
They learn by watching, so just as you keep an eye on the TV, books or internet content they’re ingesting, be mindful of what they see when they watch you.
And if you do find some days that everything has gotten a bit wild, you’ve caved to the 6 year old’s whinging and screamed at the 3 year old that they’ll have to get a job to pay for the laptop they just broke, be kind to yourself. In cases like these it’s ok and even healthy to have a bit of a laugh after the fact, preferably while debriefing the incident with a friend over a hot cup of tea and some chocolate.
Tips and Tricks Part 3 can be found here