You'll never get your child's behavior to be socially acceptable if you practice inconsistent parenting skills. It's like trying to do anything when the goalposts keep being changed. You're never going to score because each time you try, the goal isn't where you thought it was. It means you simply can't win. So, in this brief discussion, we are going to establish how you can set about improving your child's behavior by offering you some essential tips on positive parenting solutions.
A steady rational approach promotes follow-the-rule attitudes
One of the cardinal sins with parenting is to underestimate your child's powers of comprehension. Given the right teaching, any child will learn that good behavior has its rewards. However, the lessons and examples have to be taught and shown in a consistent manner. The same is true in terms of using blatant bribes to get the desired result.
The fact of the matter is that any child can quickly latch onto how to go about taking advantage of the bribe system if you are inconsistent in your approach. So rather than creating new rewards every time you succeed in getting your child to do what you wish, you need to come up with a consistent system that your child will understand. This will result in your little one coming to understand and appreciate the rules, rather than them rebelling until they get an expected reward.
How being consistent helps children to learn about cause and effect
The next tip we are going to recommend is about being consistent when you demonstrate cause and effect to your child. In the same way that consistently showing a kid that acceptable behavior is rewarded, if you don't show the child what always happens when rules are disobeyed, they will think there are times when they can get away with it.
To steer your child away from unwanted behaviors, you need to be sure to always show what the consequences will be in terms of cause and effect. If, for example, a kid becomes nasty during free play with other children, you might want to think about isolating the child from its peers as a result. If a kid is unwilling to share its toys, you can always consider taking the toy away until the child is ready to share.
The problem is that using a sanction such as a timeout each time a kid exhibits misbehavior may not be consistent with the child's particular action and will therefore not demonstrate cause and effect. Because the child cannot relate to a relationship between their behavior and an appropriate consequence, it could result in your little one acting up even more.
Exhibiting constant emotions will develop a child’s honesty
If your emotional reactions are consistent, it means that your child is less likely to be afraid of how you might react when something bad occurs. Being consistently calm and tranquil, and holding a consistent attitude in both positive and negative situations, will result in your child becoming more open and honest each time he or she makes a mistake or requires help.
If you are tolerant in a specific situation one day, but then on the next day, you are intolerant to that same scenario, this can cause a child to become anxious about what to expect. Furthermore, that anxiousness could result in the child hiding things from you in fear of how you could react. Bear in mind that if a child doesn't have a healthy way to vent emotions, that child might exhibit more risky behavior.
Being consistent across the board
It's no good having one rule for someone and another for other people. It is, therefore, vital to ensure that others, including grandparents, nannies, and teachers, all treat your child in the same way. When a child thinks that some figures in authority accept bad behaviors but not others, they will latch onto this inconsistency and use it to their own benefit, resulting in bad behavior when a kid thinks it can get away with it.
It’s like applying the same logic when you send your child to boot camp only to find that it doesn't improve the child's behavior when he or she gets back home. The scenarios are different, as are the authority figures, so in your child's mind, the rules go out of the window.
Consistent parenting is no easy thing. It requires much thought and hard work because the truth of the matter is that it is difficult to be consistent every minute. Given that truth, the tips we have offered are for use as guidelines in terms of proper parenting. However, it also important to appreciate the need for flexibility in certain situations.
Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com, ghostwriter at WriteItGreat.com, and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.