“Bad” behavior is often defined by and dependent on societal norms, but regardless, it can often be disruptive and stressful to children, parents and teachers alike. Positive parenting works to make doing the right thing easy and encourage productive child behaviors in Phoenix, AZ. If you are looking to encourage better habits and behavior, here are five tips that encourage rather than punish:
- Accept them as they are: Children have distinct personalities. There will be situations that leave them cranky and environments they do not enjoy. Whether they are generally quiet, active or talkative, do not force change. A shy child may thrive well building one-on-one relationships, but a party with 30 other children may leave them miserable. Likewise, a child inclined to physical activity is not going to sit quietly and read unless they are able to move first. Take them as they are, and do not try to change them from their basic personality.
- Be careful with labels: It is not productive to tell a child they are “bad.” Most “bad” behavior arises through frustration and disempowerment, rather than an actual character flaw. Tell them instead that the behavior or decision was bad—not them personally. It is easier to modify behavior, so this offers hope and encouragement to take a different path.
- Empower children: No, you do not want your children running the whole household and picking every movie, but you want to encourage involvement. Set routines, but also offer choices. Let them choose clothes, books to read and whether they want your company or to try something on their own. As they grow, involve them in additional decision making, like making rules or planning chore schedules. If you empower them rather than just rule over them, not only will you see more positive behaviors, but they are more likely to grow into happy and functional adults.
- Act with empathy: Children experience all the same emotions as adults, but do not have the life experience to handle them well. Feelings of loss and helplessness lead to acting out. Rather than punish them for what is essentially a brain still in development, encourage them to talk about their feelings, especially negative ones. Anger, sadness and frustration are all valid emotions, and burying them does not make them go away. Address them with understanding, rather than judgment, for better results.
- Negotiate: Many parents, out of sheer exhaustion, resort to threats, and later fail to follow through on them. This completely dissolves your credibility. Instead, know that sometimes you may need to make your expectations their idea. This means negotiating to a win-win situation. For example, if a child wants more screen time, see why they desire it. Online time may give them connection, or they may be engaged in a favorite game that diminishes stressful feelings. From there, you can likely find a solution where screen time is still limited, but it is limited to a time that is more appealing to your child. Rather than punish a child for refusing to put away a tablet, find a solution that works for both of you.
Magical Star Preschool offers care and education that supports positive parenting in Phoenix, AZ and encourages good child behaviors. Contact us today to learn more about our programs.