Caregivers of younger children are their first role models. Children do not just imitate their parents or echo the words and behavior of their teachers, but also believe what they say about them.
When parents insult or treat them badly, children will believe that they deserve those insults, they will expect them, and eventually, they will accept them. But if they treat them with kindness, respect their choices, and empower them to take responsibility, their personalities will develop in a balanced way and they will develop a healthy level of self-respect and self-worth.
Reconsider our education methods
Disobedience or misbehavior are not the only things that alarm or should make caregivers reconsider their parenting methods. You should pay attention and be concerned if you see your children becoming increasingly inclined towards:
Withdrawal: being alone, unusually quiet, less sharing of the day’s events or feelings.
Violence: bullying or dealing with others with physical and verbal violence, and overreacting to usual situations.
Fear: feeling afraid of certain people or situations/places and lying to hide something or avoid punishment.
Disobedience or misbehavior are not the only things that alarm or should make caregivers reconsider their parenting methods.
Think about the things that could influence your children and cause them to act this way:
Things that happen in the house: sibling jealousy, family conflicts, facing financial difficulties that the child knows about, and so on.
Things that happen at school: school loads, bullying, rejection or exclusion by friends or classmates, etc.
Inability to express their fears and anxieties for fear of being judged, criticized, or punished.
Not getting enough sleep or a healthy diet
Listening to your children is a skill
To understand what your children are going through, you need to listen to them:
Pick a moment when your children are in a good mood, and ask them to tell you something that happened during their day:
Listen carefully and be sure to show signs that you are a good listener, such as being friendly and interested in the conversation, nodding your head, sitting at the same level as the child, and looking directly into their eyes.
Avoid interrupting them and wait for them to finish speaking.
Ask them questions to show that you care (such as “Then what happened?” and “What did I do?”)
Avoid being judgmental and lecturing them if they say they made a mistake, as this may prevent them from telling you later. Wait for them to finish and think of possible ways to address this negative behavior at a later time.
Now take turns and ask them to listen to you as you tell them what happened to you.
Talk to your children about how they feel they are being listened to, and do they – in this way – feel that you understand them better?
To get them to listen, try “affirmative request” instead of “command.”
An affirmative request is when someone is asked to do something, not to stop doing the thing.
“Come back early,” instead of “Don’t be late like you always do.”
How do you make a positive request?
Make contact by looking them in the eye.
Determine exactly what you want the child to do (for example: please clean your room)
Tell him how this will make you feel (for example it will help me a lot when you clean your room)
Use expressions of respect and appreciation such as: “I would like you to do…”, “I would be grateful if you would…”, “It is very important to me that you would help me with….”
Praise the child when he performs the request.
How do we deal with bad behavior?
When your children ignore what you ask of them, or break a rule that you both agreed upon, how do you tell them – in a positive way – that they are behaving in an unacceptable or bad way?
Express your negative feelings about this behavior
Look at them and speak firmly.
Tell them exactly what they did that made you angry (I feel bad when you do…).
Tell them what can be done to remedy the situation or fix the error (I would appreciate it if you did…).
Suggest to them how they can act to avoid this from happening in the future ( In the future, I suggest that…).
Use consequences rather than punishment
Consequences are different from punishments. Consequences are opportunities for your children to learn that their behavior and actions will have an impact on them and others. Consequences also help children learn to be independent, make decisions, and take responsibility.
Types of consequences:
Natural Consequences: Consequences that do not require parental intervention and are a natural consequence of a child’s behavior.
Example: “If you don’t put your clothes in the laundry basket, you won’t have any clean clothes to wear.”
Logical consequences: These are the consequences that result from a particular behavior, such as not following the rules
Example: “If you come home late, you won’t have time to rest tomorrow.”
How to explain the consequences of not following the rules
Define misbehavior: what you want your children to do, and what you don’t want them to do.
Define a clear consequence that will occur if the bad behavior occurs (if it happens…, the result will be…..).
When the above happens despite your warning, apply the consequences immediately, after drawing the attention of the children to the relationship between them.
Praise them if they follow the rules.
Help them solve their problems
Sometimes your children behave negatively because they are worried and stressed about another problem. Although it is important to let your children be independent and try to figure things out on their own, you also have to let them know that they can always turn to you for help.
Define the problem clearly.
Think of possible solutions together, and encourage them to come up with two or more solutions.
Talk to them about each of these solutions, and how they feel about it, and then express how you feel about each solution by saying, for example, “I will not be comfortable with this solution because of ………”, or “I see this solution as possible because … ..”..”.
Choose the solution that seems the best, and give it a try.
Talk to your child and follow up with him: Did the solution work?
Many children in Egypt are exposed to violence at the hands of those who are supposed to protect and care for them, and oftentimes this violence – some of it very severe – is considered acceptable and normal by the adults who practice it (and sometimes even by the children themselves).
The consequences should be:
Different from what parents use to reward.
Example: If the reward is spending time with their friends, the consequence will not be spending that time.
Include an apology if the negative behavior affected someone else
Example: “If you broke someone else’s stuff, you should apologize and help them fix it.”
The consequences do not have to be:
Including any corporal punishment.
Denying adolescents their right to food or to go to school. Instead, it can be a restriction of privileges such as less downtime with friends, or adding responsibilities such as doing more tasks and chores.