The dream of every parent….children that are always well-behaved! Is there such a thing? Honestly – I don’t think so. Simply because there is such a thing as a perception of good behaviour – and that will vary from person to person, depending on the standards everyone sets for themselves. But – then there are children who intentionally misbehave – we have all seen them. And definitely – behaviour has levels of irritation – I think we can all vouch for that. I am not sure if I did the greatest job with my kids – but I think I did a decent one. It would be kind of fun to have them actually comment here – and I will for sure request that from them! And it would be equally great to hear from parents out there – please share your experiences!
Here are some points that may be helpful to reaching that point of a well-behaved child:
- Children who feel they can do anything they feel like doing and get anything they want are usually the ones who whine, cry and throw temper tantrums when their demands are not responded to positively. You need to make your child understand why a certain behaviour is expected from them. For example: just telling them to get going and go to bed is not the same as telling them they need to go to bed at 8 o’clock because their bodies need a lot of sleep to stay strong and healthy.
- Offering praise goes a long way. Whether its helping you set the dinner table or make their own bed, your acknowledgement is very important. If you don’t, the only thing the child will remember is that what he or she did didn’t matter. Then try to make them make their bed – they already know that it really doesn’t matter!
- If you are in the habit leaving dishes on the table after you are finished eating, don’t expect your child to do anything different. Simple translation: you have to set rules for yourself and follow them – it something called “setting an example.”
- If your child breaks your rule and feels bad about it, the immediate reaction would be to tell him not to worry about it and just do it or not do it the next time. Don’t go there – letting your child know that it bothers you will cultivate their conscience – they will remember it better! But don’t let them suffer for too long – that would bring on a bit of resentment.
- Letting your child make decisions is a good thing. It can be as simple as asking them which pajamas they want to wear to bed, to getting them to make a decision in a disagreement with a sibling by asking :”How can you handle this differently” instead of just bursting out “Don’t do that!” or “Stop that!”
- Encourage them to try again – good example is teaching a pre-schooler to tie his or her shoes. The temptation is to do it for them – especially if you are in a hurry. But again – achieving and accomplishing even the smallest tasks does a great deal for their self-confidence.
- It is a good thing to teach your child to think things out. If your child asks you how to do something, ask them what they think first – how would they do it. That also greatly helps to develop their confidence.
- Don’t always drop everything to get your child what he or she asks for – make them wait a little. Trust me – if you jump every time they say – their expectations will be that is the standard – and that is how temper tantrums are developed.
- Ask your children – don’t just tell. For example – if they don’t want to play with a another child, ask them how they would feel if someone else wouldn’t want to play with them. Make them think it out!
- Engaging your child in activities that require patience is a very good exercise on an ongoing basis. Good examples are puzzles, block building or even planting a seed. Immediate results are not there – they have to wait various lengths of time for it and it goes a long way in teaching patience.
You have probably guessed – or already know – that well-behaved children are a product of ongoing parental efforts. Personally I believe that there is no simple recipe and I like what Dr.Phil advised long, long time ago:
Ask yourself: Ïs it working for me?
If the answer is “No”- then simply – “Don’t do it!