One of the challenges that children encounter is learning to behave appropriately in the world they live in while trying to make sense of it, says Dr Weelai Suwanarat, a veteran educator.
Discipline should guide children’s behaviour and/or set limits to give them space to explore, but in a socially acceptable manner. She shares the top dos and don’ts when your child misbehaves.
1. Shame or humiliate your child.
2. Moralise or let your anger come through. You can tell your child you are angry, but never react in anger, as this will make her fearful and anxious.
3. Use “No” too often. Instead use words like “Stop” or “Please don’t”.
4. Use bribes, false threats or false choices.
5. Retaliate, that is, to do to the child what she did to someone else. Remember that children learn the most from us through modelling and imitating.
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1. When inappropriate behaviour occurs, address the behaviour, not the child. Say “Hitting hurts people. If you are angry with John, please talk to him”, rather than “You’re being a bad girl. You know you’re not supposed to hit others”.
2. Give brief reasons why the behaviour is unacceptable.
3. State and model acceptable behaviour.
4. Offer reasonable choices whenever possible. This shows them that they are respected and empowers them as well.
5. Recognise and acknowledge their feelings of anger, confusion or hurt as legitimate. It would benefit your child if labels could be given for these emotions.
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