Thoughts, methods and suggestions on the hardest job.. rasing a child. Regally updated
�It never hurt me�; �Its good for them�; �How else are they going to learn�, are some of the common excuses to smack or hit a child. None of them good.
Every time a child is smacked it�s learning that to get someone to stop something just hit them. Then when the child puts this into action by hitting a sibling or in the school yard to solve a problem the adult world descends on them like a ton of bricks. Poor kids how are they meant to make sense of these conflicting messages?
Need more reasons?�
As for a bit of science, behaviourism studies have shown that punishment (eg smacking) if a poor way to teach. Reinforcement is far more effective.
On alternatives to smacking see latter instalments of The Handbook.
12 - Do not hit the child
39 - Praise works wonders
40 - Little Steps
63 - Lots of hugs
104 - Time to Play
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To your kids you are it. The source of all knowledge and wisdom with unlimited powers. As a parent you are the child�s main and possibly only role model. From an early age (as young as two) it is very important that a parent acts, speaks and behaves the way the parent wants the child to behave.
Kids watch everything; they remember everything and will copy everything. It might not happen straight away but it will happen. How many times have parents heard their child utter a phrase or tone of voice that could have come from the mouth of the mother or father.
If you want the kids to say please and thank you, say it to them and to others. If you don�t want the kids to swear and curse then keep the language away from the kids. If you want the kids to eat healthy food, make sure they see you eating an apple every so often. The list goes on and on; it applies to everything. It is important they see you doing the good things and not doing the bad things.
Its not enough to just tell the child what to do. That will only have limited impact and be far less effective and rarely long lived. Children, even toddlers have a sense of fairness� �You eat a whole block of chocolate .. why cant I !� If you do not do as you say, the kids will not believe what you say and sooner rather than latter you will not be the source of all wisdom.
Praising the child it the best form of teaching. Its positive, in that you are telling the child they are being good, rather than growling at them when naughty, and its far more effective.
The trick is to remember to do it. If you see your child doing something good, even if its something you asked them to do weeks earlier just say "that's great" or 'well done".
They will beam and remember how to get praise and attention.
Kids don't get the hang of a task all in one hit. At the start they might get part of task right and the rest wrong.
The trick is to praise the bits they do get right and show them how to do the bit they get wrong.
As the child masters certain parts of task, make it harder for them to get the praise by only praising the newly learnt part of the task.
This one may seem common sense, but it�s broken so many times and it�s so important.
If a child is misbehaving; crying; yelling; throwing a tantrum etc, its so easy to give the kid something they want just to shut them up, whether it be food, toy, watch TV or whatever. Noting could be worse. All it does is teach the child that to get something they want is to cause hell.
It is hard not to give in, but it will only take a few goes before the child learns that misbehaving will not get want they want. Kids are not stupid.
Parents need to stick to their guns. A bit of pain at the beginning will save years of grief.
Kids will misbehave. And there needs to be an effective way of teaching the correct behaviours. Hitting or smacking is not effective and can be damaging see instruction 12.
Some tips on effective punishment
But the most effective way to prevent misbehaviour, is when the child is in a similar circumstance where they previously misbehaved and they don't (or even not as bad as last time) then heap the praise on... heaps and heaps.
Every child needs to feel loved and secure. One of the best ways to do this is give lots of quality hugs. Not just 10 second squeezes, but really prolonged bear hugs.
Take a couple of minutes every now and then to sit down and say; �Hey give me a hug�. It�s as good for the receiver as it is for the giver.
Ask they child every now and then what they think about an issue and seriously take on board what they say. A child's opinion may seem "childish" but it's important to them and any denigration or ignoring their opinion is a denigration of the child.
Also, occasionally, ask the child if you can use one of their things, eg a bag to carry stuff in at the shops or their pencils etc. It builds self esteem and the relationship, that will reap reward especially later on.
Children know when something is fair or not. It is easy to play the "adult card", i.e. your a kid and you have to put up with it. Resist this. How do we feel when something unfair happens. Kids feel the same and they are powerless to do anything about it. Their frustrations and anger could well manifest it self in what may appear unrelated misbehaviour even at a latter time.
Also acting in a fair way is also great for building a relationship with your child.
Don't expect a child to mast a new task in one go. Whatever they reason, letting a child sleep on it when the child is learning a new task it nearly always helps
Kids can have busy lives, especially once they hit school age and have all those activities. While the structured activities are good, children need their own time too.
Time just to be kids; let them jump in puddles; make mud pies; misbehave every now and then (as long as no one or thing is getting hurt). They will be happier people.
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