- 82% parents shout/hit at their children in morning (when they are running late for a meeting/reporting time at work) or when parents (NOT children) are pressed for “Time”
- 66% parents notice negative behavior of their child in public. In private settings (Like home, car) the same behavior remains unnoticed
- 42% parent believe that they have no control on child’s negative behavior after a certain limit. To simplify, I will quote a father’s words, “I have tried all strategies: love, care, counselling, hitting, and yelling: NOTHING works in some situations”
Do these facts sound similar to you? Do you feel the same at times? If yes, please continue reading this article. If not, please share your discipline policy with as many people as possible including us. To begin with, let us try to understand that why do we see negative behavior among children, and if we see, what should we do as a responsible adult in their lives.
WHY DO CHILDREN MISBEHAVE?
Children’s behavior is influenced by a variety of factors. I can only share few of the possible causes and you as an honest parent, can choose the option that best suits your child.
Reason 1: Instinctive Behaviors
Recent research in the field of child development have proven that many of the behaviors that parents find troubling are part of a child’s instinctive repertoire. Yes, it runs in the genes!!!!!!!!
Reason 2: Developmental Stage
At different stages of development, children are likely to exhibit different behaviors. Toddlers are egocentric and will react based on what they believe to be best for themselves such as pushing, are typical at certain ages and then extinguish themselves as the child matures.
Reason 3: Environmental Factors
The environment influences behavior. How contradictory to the first reason!!!
Again, research has clarified that children will become often more active, disruptive and physical in homes that lack consistency in routines or are haphazardly arranged. Invest in organizing your routine activities and beautify your home, it helps!!!!
Reason 4: Learned Behaviors
So, the story is not only about genes, that’s actually just a tiny bit of it. The fact is that children are good observers and excellent imitators. Scary!!!! You are being watched always!!! But, that’s true!!!
WHAT CAN I DO AS PARENT?
Clinically, you just need to know three ways to help your child. Simple, isn’t it???
Actually, easier said than done. I am proposing three strategies here based on timing:
Proactive Strategies (STOP, before it comes)
These are the things that can be done to help prevent challenging behaviors before they occur. In simple words, invest in/encourage/ appreciate/ acknowledge the good behavior. I can share some simple methods of proactive strategies, and most of these, you must be following with your child. If not, it’s not too late Mommy or Daddy.
- Always use simple direct language in giving directions
Don’t talk much and choose words wisely. For example, Pick up the books, please. Put in the shelf. If need be, repeat the exact same words.
- Organize books, clothes and toys logically and thoughtfully
Invest in buying organizers for children. Clear lines and clean cupboards help in decreasing stressful stimuli to a child’s brain.
- Maintain a well-organized daily schedule
The most important fact! And, please do NOT break it on weekends also. From Infancy to age 8, routine is the key. You may get bored of it, but your child will love it!!!!
- Invest in your child
In today’s world of “Outsourced Parenting”, it’s really a tough choice. Remember, “The child who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways later”
- Limit Resources
Please avoid filling up your home with manipulatives, puzzles, and toys. Research has proven, the two most desired play for children from infancy to age 6 are SAND PLAY and WATER PLAY!!!!
‘In the Moment’ Strategies (ATTEND the behavior)
These are the things that are done at the time a challenging behavior is occurring.
- Ignore annoying but not dangerous behaviors
Avoiding/ignoring to certain annoying acts of your child is perfectly fine in parenting. For example, your child keeps pulling/tangling you sari/shirt when you are talking to your friend to whom you suddenly met in grocery shop. Your child is pulling your clothes to gain attention (by negative means): AVOID.
- Offer logical consequences
Again a simple example, “You lose the chance to play with that toy if you break it” and let the toy be broken if your child does not stop there and NEVER replace with new one immediately. Loss of that toy is worth it!
- Walk closer to the child-proximity
Physical proximity helps especially when your child is losing temper and crying, shouting or throwing himself on floor. Do NOT walk away from the scene. Stay in scene and ONLY leave when you feel like hitting your child.
- YOU SHOUT: I SHOUT
That is the problem. Instead, YOU SHOUT: I STAY CALM. The higher your pitch is, the lower the impact of your message is to a child. Remember the thumb rule: “The most significant messages of world are generally whispered”
‘After the Interaction’ Strategies (LESSON from the event)
There are things that can be done after the immediate situation has been resolved to help prevent future guidance challenges and to cement the learning that takes place.
- Console and cuddle
The first and foremost reaction from parent should be to give Love and care soon after the episode is over or as soon as the child exhibits controlled behavior.
- Discuss later as a group to generate new ideas
Discuss in your family on what could be done to avoid such behaviors. If your child is 4 years and above, make sure to involve your child in these discussions.
- Talk with experts for ideas
Sometimes, just a small fact needs to be reminded. And, that is perfectly normal. DO NOT hesitate in taking help of professionals. And do it, before it’s too late.
- Be a Parent, not a friend
Last but not the least, DO NOT try to be a friend to your child. Earn the respect, so that your child will listen to you when you want him/her to listen. Remember, it did not come easy to your parents as well. They also earned it from you or may be, still earning J
WHERE, WHEN and HOW TO START?
Ponder and Pick anything from this article that you found most useful and start from now. Keep revisiting these points and do not give up easily. Parenting is the most challenging task of god and therefore, the most rewarding as well. I will conclude by sharing what I recently read,
The moment you created another human, was the moment you chose to spend the rest of your life putting somebody else before yourself.
Head, Training and Development
Founding Years Private Limited