Some days, parenting seems impossible. You try your hardest every day, and yet, some days, your kids just meltdown in public or cause trouble at school. Being a mother isn’t always easy, and it can be especially tough to encourage positive behavior when the odds seem stacked against you.
The good news is that caring parenting is always the first and most important step. If you love your children and model positive, ethical behavior, then you’re already off to a great start. But to more actively encourage positive behavior and raise a caring, kind child, here are some tips for success.
First Things First: Teach the Foundational Behaviors
In some cases, you can control your child’s environment to prevent disruptive behavior, but you may also need to go back and teach foundational behaviors. The ABCs of behavior—Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence—can help you understand why your child becomes disruptive and how you might change unwanted behavior.
Step 1: Identify the Problem Behaviors
If your child is exhibiting specific undesirable behaviors on a regular basis, then it’s time to get back to the basics. You need to begin by identifying the negative behavior (i.e. throwing toys or becoming upset and screaming or crying when denied a treat) that you want to replace with more positive behavior.
Step 2: Identify the Triggers
It’s usually pretty easy to figure out which behaviors pose an issue. What might be more challenging is to determine exactly what triggers the behavior and to identify the times when they do not engage in disruptive behavior. You should also try to determine what they might be gaining from negative behavior.
Step 3: Behavior Modification
Once you determine your child’s problem behavior and motivations, you can start modifying the behavior by providing or removing positive reinforcement as needed. Different children respond better to different tactics, which may include providing reinforcement on a consistent basis, replacing unwanted behavior with more positive behavior, and removing positive reinforcement when the unwanted behavior occurs.
Establish a Consistent Morning Routine for Your Kids!
Children thrive on routine. It helps them to feel safe and cared for when they know exactly what to expect when they wake up and start the day.
By creating an easy-to-follow, consistent morning routine for your kids, you’re likely to notice less challenging behavior not only in the morning but throughout the day as well. A great start to the morning helps set the tone for the entire day and can really make a difference in children’s well-being and attitude.
Your routine will need to be based on your lifestyle and the amount of time you have in the morning but might include picking out clothes together, reading a story, or having a family breakfast. However you structure your morning routine, make sure to do it every single day, even on the weekends, if possible.
Creativity is Often a Great Outlet for Disruptive Behaviors
Children exhibit problem behaviors for a variety of reasons. They may not be able to fully communicate their emotions, they may feel unsafe or left out, or they might feel frustrated by social expectations. It’s important for children to learn how to regulate their emotions, but it’s also important to give them an outlet.
Creative projects can be a great way to give kids an outlet and allow them to make something they can feel proud of. Not only that, but creativity can encourage the development of skills like emotional intelligence and can even reduce stress levels and improve mood in children. Give your kids lots of opportunities to practice storytelling, building, art, and other creative outlets and you’re likely to see a reduction in unwanted behavior.
Keep it Simple & Reward Positive Behaviors
At the end of the day, children will usually respond to positivity with positive behavior. Affection, encouragement, praise, and positive reinforcement of the behavior you want to see are all great ways to help your child develop desirable behavior. Keep it simple and don’t overthink things!
Corrections may be necessary for bigger behavioral issues, but it’s best to ignore annoying behavior or small issues that are not dangerous or harmful. By not reinforcing these behaviors with attention, your child will likely stop and switch behaviors eventually. Children often seek attention in any way they can and it’s up to you to reward the behavior you want to see.
Parenting is tough, but at the end of the day, your actions speak loudly. Model the proper behavior, impose consequences when necessary, don’t indulge disruptive behavior simply to make it stop, and reinforce the behavior you want to see. Do these things consistently, and your kids will be well on their way to becoming the caring, positive adults you know they can be.