The hubs and I helped out at the parenting workshop conducted at our church as we wanted to learn more and are passionate about this topic. Our pastor sent us the following ’10 ways to raise well-behaved kids’ and I find them relevant. I’m sure the article is from some source (but I can’t find the link!)
Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
Proverbs 13: 24
Both of us abide by the above and we absolutely do not want to raise spoilt brats. I don’t think any parents would want that to happen! But oh, it takes a lot of patience, hard work and determination to raise kids who are able to practice good behaviour. So here goes:
1. Model good behaviour. The best way to teach kids how to behave well is by showing them how to do it. Actions are more powerful than words. If they see you practice good behaviour yourself, then they are most likely to follow your example. So true! I see the little one imitating what I do and I have to be careful how I present myself in front of others.
2. Communicate rules and expectations clearly. Kids do not know right from wrong. They need to be taught which actions are acceptable and which are not. Use words that they will understand and make sure that you are very specific. It is the responsibility of parents to help their children have a sense of with-it-ness by constantly giving them reminders so inappropriate behaviour can be prevented.
3. Reward good behaviour immediately. The best way to help children to behave well is to give them rewards whenever they do something good which can be in the form of words, gestures and gifts. Right timing is essential as children should be able to associate rewards with good behaviour. If you give the reward too late, they may not understand what it is for.
A simple pat in the back or “well done” is usually enough to tell children that they have done the right thing. We clap to show Faith that she has done something right and her smiles show us that she understands our gesture. We are not so keen to present her with gifts lest it becomes a bad habit and that she expects such form of reward for doing well. I also tend to think that extrinsic rewards can be reduced when they are of a certain age.
4. Encourage them often. Children are inspired to practice good behaviour if they know that you believe in them. Constantly rooting for your children will help them to make better choices.
5. Train them early. Your kids are never too young to make good behavioural choices. Experts say that a child’s foundations
for character are established before the age of five. So it important that you do all you can when they are still in preschool to prepare them for the real world.
6. Be firm and consistent. Your children are smarter than you think they are. When you give in to what they want once, they will expect you to give in to them all the time. They are most likely to test your resolve when you are in a gathering. Do not waver just because there are many people around, stick to the rules. If they persist and throw a tantrum, deal with them privately.
7. Give them room to grow. Allow your children to make their own decisions as it is not healthy for you to always shadow them. Let them make mistakes sometimes so they will learn to be more responsible for their actions.
8. Do not deal with your children when you are angry. It is unwise to correct them when emotions are running high as you might just say or do things that you will regret later. Allow yourself to cool off before you talk to them.
9. Provide a healthy and positive environment at home. Allow your children to grow according to their unique personalities and characteristics. Never compare them to other children as this can only cause them to experience undue pressure and stress. Not to mention that it can cause them to have low self-esteem.
Oh! I find this so true and is a constant reminder to me. Do you often find that you will inevitably compare your kid with others when parents come together? Every child is unique and they grow at their own pace. I honestly don’t like to do comparison and shun such conversation when parents come together. A little of these topics is fine for checks. Too much of it is really just dampening to the spirit. Stop comparing!
10. Love them unconditionally. Correct your children when they are wrong but love them regardless of how they behave. They have to understand that your love for them does not depend on their actions or performance.