Just about every child counselor has heard a parent say, at one time or another, “I wish my child had come with an instruction manual.” The reason for this is that learning how to parent is essentially on-the-job and it can be difficult to know what is right and what is wrong for a particular child. Of course, the easiest way to find out if you’ve done and said the “right” things in rearing your children is to wait and see what kinds of adults they turn into. If you don’t want to wait that long and you want to ensure that your children learn good behaviors now, here are some things you can do:
✓ Praise Them
You may have read or heard the criticism recently that modern parents praise their children too much. While this may be true to some extent, positive feedback in the form of praise, especially from a parent, can do a child a world of good when it comes to reinforcing good behaviors. In fact, everyone responds positively to praise and there really is no better way to encourage your child’s good behaviors than letting them know how appreciative you are of them.
✓ Use Incentives
When your children are very young, it can be helpful to enlist the use of a chart on which you write down the things you want them to accomplish on a daily basis. You can list things like doing their homework, taking out the trash or walking the dog and you can let them check off items they accomplish. Once they’ve accumulated enough check marks, they can be eligible for some special treat like watching their favorite movie or choosing what you have for dinner. For older children, you can still incentivize good behaviors but with slightly bigger rewards, like using the car or going to a party.
✓ Discipline Consistently
When your child does misbehave, it’s important that you have some kind of discipline ready to use and it’s also important that you use it in every situation. Young children can be placed in time-out while older children can be sent to their rooms and/or grounded. The most important thing you must remember is to tell your child very clearly what they’ve done wrong and to be consistent and to make sure that the all of your children are disciplined in the same way for similar misbehaviors.
Make sure that your child knows that he can always talk to you about anything, no matter how sensitive. Often, children misbehave because of something totally unrelated to you or your home situation. There are a myriad of ways they can feel pressure socially and at school – from difficulties with schoolwork to bullying and more. They must know that they can come to you to help them with any problems they’re having.
If your child’s behavior is concerning and you’re unable to correct it yourself, you may need the assistance of a child counselor. Call Insight Child & Family Counseling at (972) 426-9500 or visit www.j9n.83e.myftpupload.com to find out more about how a child counselor can help.