All children require positive influences in their lives, and positive parenting begins at home. Although sometimes you may feel that you have completely run out of patience, or are simply too tired to even begin to think about staying positive, it is really important to stay in control of your parenting skills.
Children like to throw us new challenges, and at every stage of development, and every age group you will find that your parenting skills will need to be updated, re considered and carefully fine tuned in order to remain a positive influence in your children’s lives.
Patience is a Virtue!
When your child’s behaviour is really proving to be difficult it is often very easy to snap, shout and lose your patience. It is perfectly normal to feel this way, and after all, we are only human (even if we ARE parents!). Giving your child boundaries is really important as this not only makes your life much easier, but it also means that your child will always know the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Children without boundaries may appear to have loads of freedom, but this is not a good long term approach as they may well have under developed social skills and find certain situations very hard to deal with.
Praise for Positive Behaviour
Positive and good behaviour should always be rewarded, but negative or challenging behaviour should also be acknowledged and dealt with in a positive way-if possible. Tired parents who have been working all week and then have to deal with difficult and unreasonable and tiresome behaviour from their children can be forgiven for occasionally letting their guard down, however if you have made rules and boundaries it is far better to try and stick to them as the ultimate outcome will be far more positive.
Children respond well to boundaries and will also respond well to reward schemes for displaying positive behaviour. Star charts and other devices that actually demonstrate your child’s achievements will always go down really well and lead to even more positive behaviour in the future. However, you do need to think carefully about your reward system and ensure that the behaviour your child is being rewarded for is relevant.
For example, if you have a child who wants to watch breakfast television but refuses to get dressed in the morning ready for school this can be incredibly stressful as we all know that early mornings and bedtimes are potentially the most difficult times. Therefore, explain to your child that if they get dressed before they come downstairs, they can watch 20 minutes of television before they go to school. This reward will be immediately relevant to your child as they immediately see a result for a very small change in behaviour. To create a positive situation at this crucial time of day is really important for the whole family, as it means that the day starts on a positive note for everyone.
The same system can be used at mealtimes and bedtimes and for the same reasons. These times of day are really critical in terms of timings and schedules and it’s great if everything can go smoothly. Eating food that they are not that keen on, and going to bed on time can bring rewards of their own, and these can be marked on a star chart or reward chart hung up on the kitchen door or elsewhere in the house.
A Positive Outcome
By collecting rewards, stars or points you can actively encourage your child to make changes to their behaviour that have a real impact on those around them. Keep track of all the good moments throughout the week and then treat them to something special, to say thank you.