How to Encourage Positive Behaviour
Everyone wants their child to grow and develop into a polite, positive person. But every parent needs to realise that they serve as the primary role model for their child’s behaviour. Sending your child to a school in order to ‘fix’ bad behaviour is not the way to approach problems in your child.
The parent needs to look objectively at the type of role model they’re presenting to their child and correct any bad habits in themselves first. Only then can they expect their child to act in a decent and compassionate manner as they continue to grow and develop.
But presenting a good role model is rarely enough to guarantee good behaviour in your child. They still have other influences in their daily lives that affect their behaviour. Beyond being a good role model, it’s the job of the parent to monitor their children’s behaviour and offer guidance in the choices they make and the behaviour they exhibit.
Here are some tips and ideas that will help you promote positive behaviour in your child.
Positive Feedback for Positive Behaviour
Parents often fall into the unfortunate habit of only correcting or punishing their children when they are exhibiting bad behaviour. Too much correction or punishment can begin to affect a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
By balancing out these negatives with positive feedback when your child is showing good behaviour or does something that is compassionate and commendable, you boost their self-esteem and cause them to feel good about their actions. This will naturally lead them to adjust their behaviour to receive more of your positive feedback.
Keep Your Promises
This goes hand in hand with the idea of providing positive feedback. Negotiation, both negative and positive, becomes part of every parent-child relationship – if the child cleans their room, the parent will buy them ice cream. If the child doesn’t finish their dinner, the parent will take away their TV time.
It’s a system of both rewards and consequences. In order to maintain consistency in this system and earn your child’s trust and respect, you always need to fulfil your promises, both in rewards and punishments. You need to follow through on every negotiation and promise you’ve made, even if you regret making it at the time.
Your child will soon learn that ‘a deal’s a deal’. They will reap the rewards promised when they practice good behaviour and they will expect to suffer the consequences when they don’t.
Don’t Get in the Habit of Nagging
If you hear an endless, unpleasant noise in the background, you just tune it out after a while. Nagging is just incessant, unpleasant noise.
If your child doesn’t respond to you the first time, what makes you think they’ll respond the 10th time you tell them something? Unfortunately, nagging can also be seen as a sign that your child has lost respect for you and your authority.
At this point you need down with the child for a ‘serious’ discussion. Make it clear to them the current situation cannot continue beyond that point. Listen to what they have to say and involve them in a dialogue intending to resolve the situation. Changing your nagging habits is important in making it clear to them that you mean business from that day forward. If you fall back into old habits, the discussion will have been useless.
Give Your Child Responsibilities
They don’t have to be major responsibilities, but watering the plants or taking out the garbage can boost a child’s sense of worth in the family and provide an avenue for positive feedback and support. A sense of self-worth is important in a child’s development.
As your child begins to appreciate the good feelings that go along with the positive feedback and a sense of self-worth, they’ll begin to also see the benefits of good behaviour in themselves and the people around them.
They’ll begin to see that good behaviour is not something that constantly needs to be drilled into them. They’ll come to understand that it has its own rewards in the way that others treat them.
Maintain a Sense of Perspective
Too many parents fall into the trap of thinking that things are more important than they really are. Keep a sense of perspective and humour in regard to any type of bad behaviour shown by your child. Part of every child’s development process is shedding old habits and behaviours and adopting new ones as their interests change and their intellect grows and develops.
Bad behaviour is rarely an ‘end of the world’ situation. Making it seem like it is will cause needless stress on a child who may be trying their best to do well. By maintaining your perspective and sense of humour your home will be a happy place where your child will always feel appreciated and can develop without added pressure.