The typical conduct of a child is influenced by their age, personality, and level of physical and emotional maturity. If a child’s behavior is disruptive or doesn’t comport with the family’s expectations, there may be a problem. Whether or whether a conduct is considered normal or “good” depends typically on its social, cultural, and developmental appropriateness. You can determine whether your child’s conduct is typical by being aware of what to anticipate from them at each stage of development.
What should you do if your child refuses to listen to you? Teaching your child to behave is one of your responsibilities as a parent. It’s a task that requires both patience and time. But learning sensible and productive methods of discipline is helpful.
Children’s behavior changes as they mature and develop. If a youngster doesn’t act out at age two, they could tease you at age seven and act out in a serious way at age twelve. According to experts, understanding your children’s developmental stages will help you better comprehend their behavior. With this information, you can discipline kids without screaming, threatening, or losing your cool yourself.
“Discipline is about guiding and teaching our children — it’s not about punishment or anger.”
Scott Wooding, a child psychologist in Calgary
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has provided some advice on how to assist your child acquire appropriate conduct as they become older.
10 Healthy Discipline Strategies That Work
The AAP advises using positive disciplinary techniques to train kids to control their behavior, protect them from danger, and foster healthy growth. These consist of:
- Show and tell. Children can learn good from wrong by your calm words and deeds. Show your kids how to behave by setting an example.
- Set limits. Make sure your children can obey your clear and consistent guidelines. Make careful to convey these guidelines in language that are suitable for their age.
- Give consequences. Explain the repercussions if kids don’t behave in a forceful yet calm manner. Tell her, for instance, that you will put her toys away for the rest of the day if she doesn’t tidy them up. Be prepared to act immediately after. Don’t give in by returning them after a short while. Never deprive your child of anything they actually need, like a meal.
- Hear them out. It is crucial to listen. Let your youngster complete the narrative before helping solve the problem. Watch for instances when bad conduct tends to repeat itself, such as when your youngster is feeling envious. Instead of merely imposing punishment, have a conversation with your youngster about this.
- Give them your attention. Attention is the most effective weapon for punishment since it can both deter bad conduct and reinforce good behavior. Keep in mind that all kids desire their parents’ attention.
- Catch them being good. Children need to know when they do something bad—and when they do something nice. Observe positive conduct and call it out, rewarding accomplishments and sincere efforts. Give examples, such as “Wow, you did a terrific job putting that toy away!”
- Know when not to respond. Ignoring poor behavior can be an excellent method to end it, provided your child isn’t engaging in anything risky and receives lots of praise for good conduct. Children can learn about the repercussions of their actions by being taught to ignore poor conduct. For instance, if your toddler intentionally drops her cookies, she will quickly run out of cookies to eat. If she tosses and smashes her toy, she will not be allowed to play with it. It won’t take her long to figure out how to play with her toys responsibly and stop dropping her cookies.
- Be prepared for trouble. Prepare in advance for scenarios in which your kid may struggle with behavior. Get them ready for forthcoming events and the behavior you desire from them.
- Redirect bad behavior. Children may misbehave occasionally if they are bored or ignorant of better behavior. Find your youngster something else to do.
- Call a time-out. A time-out is particularly helpful when a particular rule is breached. Children are best warned that they will have a time out if they don’t stop acting out, reminded of their wrongdoing in the fewest possible words and without showing any emotion, and then removed from the environment for a predetermined amount of time (1 minute per year of age is a good rule of thumb). You can try letting your kids lead their own time-out instead of setting a timer with kids who are at least 3 years old. You can just say, “Go to time out and come back when you feel ready and in control.” This technique, which can aid in the child’s learning and practice of self-management abilities, is equally effective with older kids and teenagers.