We, as young parents, sometimes wonder how to manage these 21st century children. They are different, they are smarter, independent and are exposed to more information and technology. Parenting style has changed as well. According to a research study, one in four parents these days don’t discipline their children for fear of upsetting them. Children get a far easier ride than parents did twenty or thirty years ago. Research shows that the way a child is raised, shapes the way he/she sees the world and behaves. So, it is important for the parents to address these behavior issues at an early age by using clear behavior expectations, consequences, and a reward system.
We, as parents, need to understand that each behaviour has a purpose to serve and most behaviours can be fixed, if noticed early and targeted using right interventions.
Here are ten tips for the parents:
- Spend some quality time with your child each day. Play with him/her, talk to him/her and most importantly listen to him/her.
- Organize routines, use picture timetable, if needed.
- Role model positive behavior. If you want your child to sleep early or make bed each morning, you do it first.
- Make rules and encourage your child to obey. Clear rules in simple language can be placed in the child’s room such as “We respect our parents and family members” “We eat and drink on the table” “put toys in box at the end of the day” “We respect our friends and use good language (no swearing)” “We pack our school bag each night before sleeping” “We help each other at home.”
- Agree on one-two reminders, logical consequences – Rule “Don’t turn the TV on” if the child turns on the TV without asking, means no TV at all that night.
- Use a reward system- Make a reward chart and stick it somewhere, may be on the fridge. Give a sticker or a point to the child if he is showing positive behaviour. When the child earns 10 stickers or points, reward him/her with something he likes to do or eat.
- When the child is misbehaving, sit down and explain why certain behaviour is a problem – for them and for you. Ask your child to brainstorm ideas on solving a problem, and for alternative ways of behaving.
- If your child fails to follow rules, establish consequences. An example would be having your child to work to earn positive rewards or coupons for something they have broken or destroyed.
- It is important to be consistent in rules and following through with consequences. Even if the child cries or throws temper tantrums, ignore.
- Most importantly, both Mum and dad need to agree with each other, otherwise child won’t take it seriously.
(Rekha Rajvanshi has a Masters of Psychology and Master’s of Philosophy in Education. She also studied Special Education at Macquarie University and works as a learning and Support teacher. She deals with various challenging behaviours in her profession.)