Unfortunately, many parents make the mistake of responding to bad behavior. Rather than adding yourself to this less-than-awesome list, learn to deal with not-great behavior in a positive way that ultimately teaches your kids to behave in the future. It might be difficult at times, but it is definitely worth the effort. Check out a few tips to help you on your journey.
Make a point of telling your children that when they behave poorly, you will not react. Do this at a calm moment, such as when driving to the local grocery store. Be calm but firm, and let them know you are serious. Very, very serious. The next time they act out, stand firm in ignoring them. If you give in, they will know you did not mean what you said. They might even take it as a license to “do whatever.” Stay strong, don’t react, and set the ground rules for future behavior.
Do not expect your kids to “be bad,” whatever you do. This is an awful self-fulfilling prophecy that only leads to more unpleasant behavior. If you are going to label your children, use positive terms only. Tell them how sweet they are, how good they are at math or assorted creative endeavors, etc. If you tell your children they are “bad,” how do you think they will act?
Look At Your Own Behavior
Take a good, long look at your own behavior if your kids just don’t seem to “get it.” Are you falling into the “Do as I say, not as I do” category? If you are perpetually five to 10 minutes late, refrain from yelling at your children for their lack of punctuality. If you smoke cigarettes, don’t be surprised if they inevitably do the same. Children mimic the behavior of those around them, namely their parents. You are the biggest influences in their lives, so if your behavior is less than spectacular, don’t be surprised if theirs is too.
Explain Your Reasons
Validate your reasons for disciplining your children rather than punishing them with no explanation as to why. Children generally act out for specific reasons, making it important to identify why they behaved a certain way and why they are being disciplined for it. For example, if your daughter smacks your son for damaging her doll or other toy, explain to her that she has every right to be angry, but she shouldn’t act in a violent manner. Send both of them to their rooms for a time-out, and make sure each understands why it is happening.
Whatever else, be consistent! If you aren’t, it will only confuse your children. Stay consistent in all aspects of your parenting and enjoy watching your children turn into fantastic adults.