Children need to know their limits, and it’s your responsibility as a parent to teach them appropriate conduct. While encouraging good behavior with verbal praise is easy, correcting bad behavior is often a challenge.
It’s important to remember that occasional defiance is perfectly natural. Many children (and adults) test the bounds of authority when they crave more independence. Nevertheless, children need to understand that some behavior isn’t acceptable.
Parents today generally use time-outs, lectures or punishments to curb bad behavior. According to experts, while these methods may temporarily stop the child from acting out, they don’t necessarily teach the child what she or he is doing wrong.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts on how to get your child to listen and learn:
Don’t lecture: Whether your child is young or old, long explanations won’t have much effect. Give a good reason for denying the behavior, but keep it short.
Don’t expect too much: Adjust your expectations to your child’s age. For example, most toddlers can’t sit through a long formal ceremony. Always ask, am I putting my child in a situation that is too much for him or her?
Do listen: When your child misbehaves, ask why. Is she hungry, tired, or unwell? Acknowledge her complaint, and offer a solution if possible. (“I understand that you’re tired–we’ll be home in 10 minutes.”)
Do serve as a role model: Children remember and mirror your actions more closely than you can imagine. Treat other people (including your child) with politeness and respect, and he or she will learn to do the same.
Source: Zooba Children – http://www.zooba.com, 2002