Part 2 - Influencing/ Changing your Child's Behaviour:
Another week has gone by … theoretical principles applied, some successful, some less so … We continue to try …
As we very quickly found out when we fell pregnant (and gave birth, and breastfed and bottle fed and and and)…advice is rife!! It comes from all angles, neither gender nor generation specific. The filter process has to be efficient and as we hopefully learnt at the time … we need to take on board the information that speaks to us and makes sense on all levels. If it doesn’t work for you (as the Mom) – it’s not going to work for your children.
The application of discipline principles and practices is no different … and the over arching message is DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT FOR YOU… Again, you are going to get an over whelming amount of ‘noise’ from every direction when it comes to ‘how does one discipline ones children’…sift out the grit and work with the solid mass that resonates with your value system…
Once We Have Our Tools Clearly Defined ... Try Apply the Following:
1. Stick at it – very few solutions work overnight, give your approach a fair trial. It’s easier to stick at something if you have support. Get help from your partner, friends or fellow mothers. At the very least, its great to have someone to talk to about what you are doing. Validation is simply a part of our DNA.
2. Try to be consistent – yes, there is that word again, consistency … Children need to know where they stand. If you vary your approach from one day to another, the message is confusing. It is also important that everyone close to your child deals with a problem in the same way.
3. Try not to over-react – This can be very hard! It is incredibly difficult to retain perspective when our children continue to press our buttons and our final reaction is one that is far greater then the true problem at hand. Once you have communicated your feelings (in as constructive manner as possible), try to leave it at that. Move onto things that you can both enjoy and feel good about. Challenge yourself and look for other ways of coping with your feelings (we will focus on coping skills in the near future).
4. Talk to your child – Children don’t have to be able to talk back to understand. Remove them from the problem at hand and get to their level (physically bend or sit down in front of them – eye to eye) and explain…why. It may be about holding your hand when crossing the road or teasing siblings .. the principle is a constant.
5. Encourage your child to talk – giving your child the opportunity to explain why they are angry (depends on their age of course) will help reduce their frustration.
6. Be positive about the good things – when behaviour is bad … it can tends to dominate everything, both physically and emotionally. By giving your child a hug or even a smile when they do something that makes you feel good (no matter how small, a kind gesture or a helpful act) can help encourage the positive things. There doesn’t have to be a reason … let your child know that you love them just for being themselves – positive attention truly goes a long way.
7. Rewards – a dangerous one, use wisely and sparingly. Try apply rewards in the form of praise, words and affection … the other kind (chocolates/sweets) can certainly back fire ! Don’t confuse bribes and rewards … !
FOCUS – – STRUCTURE – – DISCIPLINE
We are not superhuman … our emotions will show. Negative responses will creep in … lets not be too harsh on ourselves. I like to think that practice makes perseverance … There is not such thing as PERFECT when parenting is the subject.