You walk into your kitchen one day to see that your little one has plucked all the mint and coriander leaves from the pots to make a dish. There’s green foliage and mud all over the kitchen island, in the pot, and on the ground. And the plant, well, let’s not go into the gory details of that. It has happened after you multiple warnings.
So what do you do?
Should you raise your voice or do the icy stare thing?
Should you punish, or should you give a time-out?
Should you make your child clean everything since its purposeful misbehaving?
These are some of the questions every parent grovels with, depending on what the situation is. However, in every type of scenario, all that the parents want to achieve is discipline. And as easy as it may sound, practically it is difficult when it comes to kids.
Here are five tips that might help you and make your life easier in trying to bring up well-behaved kids. (Afterall, who doesn’t like angels?? )
- Setting Expectations
It’s essential that you lay down a clear set of expectations for your children right from the beginning. For example, TV time only begins once all the toys are in the bucket. And being consistent with this expectation shows kids that you actually mean what you say. And being consistent doesn’t have to mean being rigid. Instead, it’s more of a lifestyle that you’re trying to teach your child.
There will be times when things do not go according to routine. For example, when grandparents visit over the weekend and your child extends TV time, let them. This teaches them flexibility. Once grandparents are gone, explain it to them that now you will go back to your regular routine. We often underestimate children and their capacity to understand, but explaining reasons to them makes it a lot more easier for them.
- Replicate Appropriate Behaviour
All-day, every day as parents, we’re trying our best to inculcate virtues in our children. We teach them to be kind, care for all living beings, do not be selfish, smile at others, wait for your turn patiently, etc. etc. But honestly, what happens when someone overtakes you in the traffic from the wrong side, or someone just cuts you in line at the supermarket? Are you able to keep your cool, or you end up muttering something under your breath? Or do you point out the other person’s mistake to them?
Such situations keep occurring in our lives regularly, and giving a reaction is absolutely human. But we always need to remind ourselves that having kids is equivalent to having an audience all the time. By apologising and saying sorry that you lost your cool in a particular situation, models the same behaviour in them. They understand that they’re accountable for their actions just as their parents.
- Be Expressive in your Emotions
You should express love and affection in the household by saying, ‘I love you’ or ‘I care for you’ to each other. This lays the foundation for children, and they know these are the important people, more or less, like a validation of affection. This also makes it easy for you to express displeasure to your child because they can feel the difference in your behaviour. And vice-versa because even children get upset with parents and it’s essential we accept their expression of feelings.
When parents express their emotions, they model the same for their children. Your kids will learn to name these emotions, too, whether it’s anger, sadness, frustration, happiness, etc. They avoid verbally or physically abusive ways of expression because their feelings have a name. And they carry it forward with them into adulthood as well.
- Problem-Solving Skills
No child is born with them. As parents, it becomes our duty to teach them. And the process of problem-solving begins quite early. Allowing them to come up with solutions for any problem is a trait that they will always need. It could start with simple decisions like would they like the dino bed sheet or the Peppa Pig bed sheet more? Would they want to listen to the story of Three Billy Goats Gruff or The Little Red Hen?
Making such decisions allows children to decide for themselves, helping build their independence with time. These skills also support children as they get stuck solving a puzzle. As much as we’d like to help them, do not. This allows the child to figure out how to solve it on their own accord. Children learn not to give up instead solve the problem.
- Request Respect because You’re In-Charge
Our kids have all our love and affection, but it’s necessary to mark the boundaries. But sometimes parents forget that instead, the child begins dictating terms. And often, most parents agree because they don’t want their child upset. However, this has to be tuned the other way around. Your kids must respect you because it should be clear to them that you’re in charge.
We have to respect their wishes in-turn, too, and allow them to feel in power at times but not always. Only when children learn respect at home, they carry the same values with them outside too.
These are some tips that help you plant seeds for the lifelong success of your children. And it’s not a secret or rocket science, all you need is consistency to have well-behaved kids. Treating their thoughts and opinions like that of an adult will boost their confidence as an individual.
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