Are you looking for ways to deal with children who misbehave? Or are you looking for new ways to keep your children grounded? Below are tips that can help you. But first, let us try and understand why children misbehave.
Why do children misbehave?
“Why did Sola make her brother cry? or Why did David throw a tantrum?” As parents, when children misbehave we usually ask questions like this to try and wrap our head around the situation. But the truth is that there is no complex reason.
Most children misbehave because they want attention or they have noticed that this behaviour works for them. Younger kids use their behaviour to show how they feel and express emotions they cannot control. They are usually communicating something through their behaviour that they cannot verbalize.
There are also some children who misbehave because they have underlying mental health issues that contribute to behaviour problems. Kids with Autism, for example, struggle to follow directions and may behave impulsively. Read this article to know when it is not just a child being naughty.
Discipline is a form of teaching your child or correcting bad behaviour. Here are tips on how to deal with children who misbehave
1. Enforce family rules and give consequences/punishments for disobeying them
Kids benefit from having clear rules given to them. Let them know what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. For example, calling other people names, saying you hate someone, intentionally making someone unhappy or angry and hitting are always against the rules.
In addition, let them know the consequences of their action. Tell them what “violations” you are going to enforce, and exactly how you are going to enforce them.
2. Give your child a warning
When they misbehave, give them a warning and give them time to process that warning before giving a punishment. For example, When kids misbehave, issue one warning by saying, “This is your warning,” in a calm voice. Children benefit from a warning because it gives them a chance to self-correct. This will help foster their self-discipline, so eventually, they do not need you at all.
Then, if they cross the line again, you can take action by seizing your teenager’s phone or calmly pick your toddler up and put her in time-out.
3. Note that the consequence needs to be logical and fair
Here is an example: “If you steal your sister’s toy, I will have to give it back to your sister.”
If your child steals her younger sister’s toy and you say, “Give it back or you will not be able to go to the party this afternoon,” that is a severe consequence. Usually, parents threaten severe consequences thinking that will be the end of it. But if it does not work, it will be really hard for you to actually not let your child go to the party.
4. Follow through when you give a consequence.
If you give in and let your child keep her sister’s toy or continue to throw the ball in the house, you teach her that you do not mean what you say, and she can just keep on doing whatever she wants to do. This way, she will develop the habit of not listening to you because she “knows” you will not do anything. Kids are smart; once they know that we are unlikely to follow-through on a threatened consequence, our words have much less meaning.
5. Try not to get angry
Try to remain calm while giving consequences. Of course, this is easier said than done. The more we can maintain our cool, the more we show our kids to maintain theirs in tough situations. It also helps us maintain our relationship with our child. When we are angry, it is hard to problem solve and empathize with our kids, and it can make it easy to think of our kids as “naughty.”
We really want to stay away from labelling our kid as naughty and just focus on the behaviour as inappropriate, not the child. Whenever we discipline kids, it’s important for them to know that there is no connection between our love for them and the consequence of this specific behaviour. Our love for our kids is unconditional. So as soon as the consequence is over, happily move on with your child.
6. Consistency is key.
Most kids will continuously test you. Stick to your decision. While it can be tiring at times, repeating things over and over again is the key to discipline. This will also set a pattern that kids will easily fall into. Establishing a routine will lessen instances of tantrums, repeated mistakes, or room for misbehaviour.
If you discipline your child with respect and make sure that it is consistent and fair, you will have lasting positive effects. What other tips do you use to deal with your children when they misbehave? Share with us