Most Misbehaviour Can Be Prevented With These 5 Strategies
Unfortunately, the capacity to manage one’s emotions and behaviour is still growing in a two-year-old’s frontal cortex. That means kids toss food, destroy objects, have tantrums, bite when angry, and doodle on the furniture. To put it another way, they act like two-year-olds.
Even older childrens often lack the cognitive control to act as we’ve taught them because the brain is still maturing during the adolescent years. So even 15-year-olds may sometimes act like two-year-olds! (Of course, with our fully developed minds, we grownups never throw tantrums or behave infantile, do we?)
So, whether your child is a toddler or an adolescent, you won’t always be able to keep him from acting out. But, for kids of all ages, these are the five best techniques for preventing misbehaviour and turning around difficult circumstances.
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Most Misbehaviour Can Be Prevented With These 5 Strategies
Children frequently act out because they feel cut off from us, and what we desire has no meaning to them. And it’s because they’re scared or hurt that humans bite, smash objects, and act defiantly. Even though the relationship is typically intimate, such distressing sentiments separate them from us.
Because your childrens incentive to “behave” stems from his relationship with you, you must first re-establish that relationship before you can impact behaviour. Move-in close and reconnect with your child as soon as you notice him or her becoming angry or just testing the boundaries of appropriate behaviour:
“I think we all need a hug,” says one person, “and sometimes that’s enough to turn things around,” says another.
Children absorb emotion via play, so helping your child channel her strong feelings into giggles may frequently avert “misbehaviour.” Toddlers, for example, require regular enjoyable throwing activities to satisfy their throwing desires. Tossing beanbags into a bucket, balls outside, or stuffed animals down the stairs are all fun activities. Watch, compete (badly, so you always lose), appreciate her tossing, and make your child laugh by being ridiculous. All young children require a great deal of physical roughhousing that makes them giggle, as well as activities that allow them to feel powerful:
“You’re simply too quick for me! How do you constantly come out on top?!”
The more laughing there is, the less disobedience there is.
When your child starts to test the boundaries, hold her in your arms and remark, “Are you out of hugs again?!”
You may even chase her around the house yelling anything that makes her laugh, such. “We’re rambunctious, rambunctious pups… anybody who gets too close gets a huge puppy lick!”
Compete against each other to see who can growl the loudest until you’re both laughing and the atmosphere shifts. (Adjust for older children.) Pillow fights are a must in my life with tweens and adolescents.)
Unless things have gone too far and your child simply needs to release all those cries and anxieties, in which case play will not help.
When your kid is irritable or rebellious, and play doesn’t seem to help, he’s asking for your assistance in dealing with his deepest feelings. We all have a figurative “emotional bag” in which we store any feelings we don’t feel safe expressing right now. Kids get nervous when their sentiments are pushed to the surface and acknowledged. They don’t feel linked to us. They demonstrate this by refusing to collaborate. We may expect our child to escalate and lash out if we disregard these indications.
Instead, keep an eye out for signs of “misbehaviour” such as irritability, disobedience, and moodiness. Rather of disregarding your childrens mood swings, assist him in expressing his dissatisfaction. How? Create a sense of security. As much sympathy as you can muster. Close the distance between you and him and stare him down. Put your hand on his arm if required to prevent him from tossing, or on his tummy if he is heading toward his brother. Set your boundary as gently as possible:
Hopefully, he’ll start crying. He’ll most likely direct his anger at you initially. He’ll frequently feel secure enough to show you the emotions and anxieties that lie behind the anger if you remain sympathetic (and if you’ve been keeping a strong relationship with lots of play and special time). Embrace those feelings. Fear can take the form of a tantrum, whether it’s two or ten, but he needs the “holding environment” of your loving presence to feel the emotions he’s been suppressing.
The good thing about emotions is that once we experience them, they start to fade away. Your child will be more relaxed, loving, and cooperative after his outburst.
The younger the child is when you begin “letting” emotions, the faster he will “befriend” them, the better he will be able to regulate them as he develops, and the less meltdowns you will witness. However, even older children will sense the sense of security you’re providing and will “reveal” you what’s bothering them. Just remember to breathe and not to take their anger personally.
Does this imply that you are unconcerned with verbal attacks? No. You acknowledge them and invite them to share the deeper sorrows and concerns that lie behind the anger.
“Ouch! You must be in a lot of pain to talk to me like that. What’s the matter, Jamie?”
Then you pay attention and recognize his emotions. Your child will almost certainly apologize later for his previous rudeness. If not, you can always mention that polite language is one of your home rules later. (Of course, you’ll have to serve as an example.)
Of course, none of this prevents you from establishing boundaries. It is our duty to guide our children. Humans, on the other hand, are adamant about not being governed. When we comprehend the perspectives of children of all ages, they are more likely to follow our instructions. (It’s also simpler for people to divert an urge than it is to totally stop it.)
“Food isn’t meant to be thrown!” Are you demonstrating that you’ve finished your meal? I’ll assist you in getting down if you say “Done, Mommy.” Let’s fetch your beanbags since you want to throw.”
“I know it’s difficult to put the game down and get ready for bed. I’m sure you’ll never be able to sleep as an adult! You’re going to play all night every night, aren’t you? But for now, it’s time to prepare for bed.”
It always makes matters worse when we react by having our own parental tantrum. You can always quiet the storm if you can control your emotions. This is how children learn to control their emotions. This is what permits them to control their actions.
It’s unsurprising that children will behave in a childlike manner. These five tools, however — Connect, Play, Emotion-Coach, and Set limits with empathy and control your own emotions will provide any age child with the support he requires to be his best self the majority of the time.
What happens if he can’t? Just keep your wits about you and remember that this phase won’t last forever. He’ll soon move on to far more intriguing methods of driving you crazy.
What You Should Do Next:
1. Subscribe To My Parenting NewsletterSign Up For My Parenting Newsletter for tips on creating a happier home and becoming a more positive parent. As a bonus when you subscribe you’ll get a copy of my FREE Growth Mindset Printout For Kids which is the KEY to raising resilient kids with a growth mindset.
2. Register For A Pretty Awesome FREE 60-Minute Class:Register for a free class called GET KIDS TO LISTEN THE RIGHT WAY; an exclusive FREE class from nationally recognized parenting coach, Amy McCready.
3. Sign Up For A 7 Step Positive Parenting CourseEnroll now in the most in-depth parenting class. After discovering these common sense, easy-to-implement, research-based tools you can learn how to:
- Easily get kids to listen – the FIRST time. No yelling or reminding…not even once!
- Put an end to daily power struggles. Bedtime became a breeze, and all the dawdling, chore wars, sibling rivalry, and mealtime meltdowns disappeared.
- Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
- Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
- Feel amazing, confident, and empowered as a parent, every day. I NEVER go to bed feeling guilty anymore! (Okay, well maybe sometimes…’ mom guilt’ is still a thing.)
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