BY MARIA LUISA SALCINES
If you are unhappy with your child’s behavior, make changes.
The first step is to sit down and make a list of the things you would like to see change in your home.
Parents often allow negative behavior and bad habits to continue for prolonged periods of time. Once this becomes an established routine, it is more difficult to redirect. Unfortunately, it is easier for children to pick up negative habits than it is for them to learn good behavior.
If you have more than one behavioral issue you’d wish to change, pick the one that bothers you the most and focus on that first. Once you see an improvement, move to the next one on your list.
Having family meetings is a great way for families to connect and it’s a positive way to introduce the changes you want to make.
In the first family meeting establish what the meetings are for — to discuss family schedules and other issues that arise throughout the week.
Let your children know that these meetings are also for them to contribute ideas and concerns they may have, and that every member of the family will have the chance to share their thoughts.
Family meetings should be fun. So when a new rule is brought up, it should be done in a non-judgmental tone of voice.
Discussing rules prior to when your child can break them provides a fair head’s up, as well as an opportunity to change their behavior.
This way, when they do leave their toys scattered all over the house — or when they toss a toy at their sibling in anger— they will know that they broke a rule.
It’s far easier to pick up bad habits than it is to eliminate them, so you will have to be patient in reminding your children often.
In a kind, but firm voice explain that you will remind them twice and, if they don’t stop then, there will be consequences.
The most crucial aspects about making rules are that you follow through with the consequence and that you don’t let the rule slide, even on a day you’re busy or too tired to deal with your children.
Consistency and early intervention is key to eliminating behavior problems.
Lastly, during difficult periods with your children, remember to separate the behavior from your child.
That little person needs your guidance, love and understanding, especially when he or she is misbehaving.
Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer and certified parent educator with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior and Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom. Follow her on Twitter @PowerOfFamily, Instagram @mlsalcines or contact her on her blog, FamilyLifeandFindingHappy.com.