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I have been a parent for almost 8 years. Every single day brings new challenges and things I need to learn. One thing that does stay consistent is my desire to teach my children good behaviour. Over the years, I have found that there are a few key ways in which children learn best.
If you are not sure how your child may act in a certain citation, it may be a good idea to role play. There is a good reason that schools have fire drills. That way, when the real thing happens, students know what to, they don’t have to stop and think. Similarly, you can role play how to respond to criticism, or bullying or even role play sharing. As your child plays out how they may respond, you can see which areas they are already confident in and which areas need to focus on.
We all grew up with fables and other such stories. Nowadays if there is a problem you are facing with a certain behaviour chances are there is a kids book about it. Reading stories is a fantastic way to learn a desired behaviour. While reading the stories, as a parent, you can ask leading questions. Such questions will help you know what your child thinks about the citation and how they would deal with the same scenario. Reading books may also help your child know that they are not alone in their struggle. They will be able to relate to the character and see that there can be different ways to deal with citations.
Some stories I have read to my children that teach fantastic life lessons
- You are special– Max Lucado
- Hermie: A Common Caterpillar Board Book by Max Lucado
- All of the Berenstein bears books are amazing and do an amazing job at teaching life lessons to kids.
The more you say something, the more likely your child will remember. If I had a dollar for every time I said: what do we say when somebody gives us something? But because I said this so often when they were young, I hardly have to remind them of their manners now and they are very polite. I hate hearing, using and saying the same thing over and over and over again but it does pay off in the long run.
The best time to drive a lesson home if after the tantrum and once your child has settled down. You can bring your child on your lap or beside you and take the time to say: this is why I gave you a time out, you can’t act like this. It’s also a good chance to tell them your expected behaviour for future instances.
I don’t expect my children to always remember how to act in every situation. So sometimes, when my daughter comes in the room with a bad attitude I give her a second chance. I will look at her and say: try again. But maybe I should say a 5th chance because sometimes I give her that many times to get her tone right. This gives her an opportunity to change her mood without me having to discipline her for her tone and we can focus on why she came to talk to me.
My eldest daughter has a strong attitude and if often comes out in the way she speaks to me. But often instead of disciplining her for the way she is speaking to me, I will say: please say; mom, I would like to talk to you. I say it in the tone of voice I want her to use. This sets my expectation for her and she knows how I want to be talked to.
We all know the saying: talk is cheap. We can tell our kids something a million times and correct them all day long, but if our behaviour does not match our words then our children will follow suit. Kids are not stupid. They pick up on our mood, coping mechanisms, and habits. So the best way we can teach our children self-control, anger management and every other behaviour is by living out our lives the way we want our children to act.
It takes a village
I often find that when mom says something, the instruction goes in one ear and out the other. But, I have noticed that when my children are corrected by other adults my children actually stop and listen. We know that it takes a village to raise a child and this for me is the number one reason I want to surround myself and my children with people who are like-minded. That way, the chances are my husband and I will not be the only adults in our child’s lives that expect certain behaviours from them.
What ways do you teach your children good behaviours?