12 Principles To Deal With Inappropriate Behaviour: Part 3
In the third and final part of our 12 tools to deal with inappropriate behaviour we will be discussing the remaining 4 techniques that you can use to help you create a more harmonious relationship with your child during these tricky times.
By now we hope that you have had the opportunity to start utilising some of the ideas from our previous blogs 12 Principles To Deal With Inappropriate Behaviour: Part 1 and 12 Principles To Deal With Inappropriate Behaviour: Part 2
Let’s begin by recapping numbers 1-8
- Manage Your State
- Home Rules and Rewards
- Helicopter View
- Broken Record Technique
- Be Positive and Descriptive
- Reinforce Positive Behaviour
- Choose Your Battles
- Offer the Illusion of Choice
9. Acknowledge Your Child’s Perspective
There is nothing more frustrating that when you think someone isn’t taking into consideration your point of view or your feelings on something. This happens a lot with children because they will lack a certain understanding as to why they are being asked to stop doing something, or aren’t allowed to do something. An adult would have additional understanding and knowledge as to the reasoning behind the request.
If we think back to point 8 when we were discussing offering the illusion of choice and we used the example of your child wanting to play their computer game, despite it being dinner time. By offering a choice ‘You can come and have dinner now or lose five minutes of your computer time’ it may help defuse what could become an angry situation. The choice however may not work and the child might become upset and say ‘I just want to spend five minutes more on the computer’.
It is important at this point to acknowledge your child’s perspective rather than allowing yourself to get frustrated and snappy. Your reply might be “Yes, I can see you are upset and want to play on the computer, but I’d like you to come for dinner now.” This strategy can help de-escalate conflict by agreeing with your child’s request, but reasserting the require behaviour.
10. Separate the Child from the Behaviour
It is very easy to fall into the trap of saying “Don’t be a naughty boy/girl” when you child is being trying. It is very important however to separate the child from the behaviour. If a child is continuously referred to as naughty, then this may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A sociologist called Robert K.Merton created this term in 1948 to describe ‘a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come true’. In other words, if you tell your child they are naughty, they will believe they are and their behaviour as a result could become worse.
When your child is behaving in a way that you do not like, remember this – it is the message ‘I like you. I do not like what you are doing’ that you want to give to your child. In order to do this, think back to step 1- Managing your own state, acknowledge what your child is feeling and say to them ‘ You are not a bad boy/girl, I need you to come for dinner now.’
11. Be Consistent
Like we discussed in point 2 with rules and rewards, children need consistency. Being consistent gives clarity and the message that you are a safe, known quantity and a fair person. When children know where they stand, there is less confusion.
As with rewards, discipline also needs to be consistent. If you are clear on the boundaries, your child will also be clear on what is expected behaviour.
Some top tips to help with being consistent include:
- Focus on one or two priority behaviours – You cannot be consistent with every single misbehaviour, instead focus on one or two and be consistent in your response to these. This will then have a positive impact on other behaviours.
- Think about your routines – Are there certain times of the day or triggers to certain misbehaviours. Can these be avoided, or a routine changed to minimise the exposure to these tricky situations?
- Say what you mean and mean what you say – Acting is sometimes more impactful than talking. Rather than repeating yourself again and again, stand firm and follow through with your consequences. Children will learn in the long run that you mean what you say.
- Team effort – As in point 2 which talks about home rules and rewards, ensure that all caregivers are working together following the same guidelines to ensure consistency for your child.
12. Mistakes Happen
Children are learning all the time and quite often they will make mistakes. After all, this is how we learn, even as adults. Children will sometimes exhibit inappropriate behaviours and instead of scolding, parents can help their children by modelling the right behaviours.
For example – if you child is hitting or naughty – you do not reprimand them by smacking them, this would not be modelling the right behaviours to your child, instead sending them very mixed messages. What parents can do is the show their children that when mistakes happen we can apologise and put things right. Sometimes we all do things wrong, it is how we respond that is important.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading our 3 part series covering all 12 tools you can use to support you when dealing with inappropriate behaviour. Why not let us know below or on our Facebook page if anything you have tried has worked, we would love to hear your feedback!
You can read about all 12 techniques, and more learn more about understanding your child’s behaviour in my Best Selling book, “Your Happy Child, 10 Proven Steps To Raising A Happy Child” – click here to buy your copy on Amazon or if you want a signed copy you can order directly from my website.