Which parent doesn’t like a well behaved, happy and well adjusted child? For that elusive goal of a well behaved and happy child, these 10 techniques to promote good behavior may help –
1. Praise – This is very valuable in reinforcing good behavior since kids always look to parents for approval.
However, make sure that it is the behavior that you praise and not the person – praise the fact that the child did a good job cleaning their room or that they did the right thing when they decided that they were old enough to dress themselves and so on.
Also discourage whining and petulant behavior by appreciating what your child says in a normal and polite voice. Make sure that praise is genuine and consistent.
2. Selective Ignoring – This works by not giving a reaction to bad behavior but reacting to good behavior. Bad behavior will decrease as it fails to receive the desired attention.
For instance if your child is constantly interrupting a conversation that you’re having, ignore the rude behavior; if the child tries to enter the conversation with a polite “excuse me” then reinforce the behavior by attending to the child.
3. Teaching that choices have consequences – It is important to let a child make their own choices where possible so they understand that choices have consequences. This is an important step towards self discipline. If a child is not doing their homework, let them experience the consequences of not doing it.
Protect them to an extent but also let them learn from their own mistakes. This will stand a child in good stead later in life also, and by adolescence the child will have got the hang of making at least partly responsible decisions.
4. Use rewards and motivators – These have to be used judiciously, since ‘rewarding’ can easily become ‘bribing’. Make sure that it is the action or good behavior that the child learns rather merely working for the expected prize.
5. Reminders – “I forgot” may sound lame to an adult, but for a child who has other priorities than cleaning their room for instance, this could very well be the actual case.
If a child forgot to put away their toys, it could be that they forgot simply because some other more interesting thing came along. Gentle reminding rather than actual commanding is more likely to elicit compliance. Jog the child’s memory by a “Did you forget something?”.