How to manage misbehaving kids
We have all seen misbehaving kids. A child enters the shop, gets overly excited at the rows and rows of toys on display and refuses to leave. What do you do in such situations?
When my son started taking solids, he developed the most frustrating habit during meal times. He would literally scream for us to feed him, and start banging the table if we did not act fast enough. Initially my husband and I thought nothing about it, thinking that his misbehaviour was fuelled by hunger and fed him as fast as he wanted us to.
After almost a month of enduring his ear-piercing screams, I finally had enough. I removed him from the table and told him that was not the way to ask for more food. I don’t like the screaming. I don’t like the banging of the table. And I gave him a choice: Continue misbehaving and get denied of his dinner, or learn to behave.
Obviously my child didn’t like the ultimatum presented to him and started throwing a tantrum. I sat him on the floor and told him he could either stay here and scream, or quiet down and return to the table to eat. It took him 10 minutes to regain himself, and we promptly brought him back to the dinner table. Throughout the rest of the meal, we praised him whenever he didn’t yell and simply refused to feed him if he did.
We continued this practice with him at each meal and were more than glad when our efforts paid off after a few weeks.
I understand there is a parenting concept of “ignoring the bad and praising the good”, but I believe my child would not be able to tell good from bad unless I specifically told him. It doesn’t mean that I would punish him for his bad behaviour, I just make it a point to tell him that what he is doing is not nice and that he should stop immediately or risk being removed from the situation.
It takes consistency from all of a child’s caretakers to stay true to what has been said, otherwise our clever children will realise that the discipline would only come from a particular person and will find a way to misbehave when under the care of someone else.
It also takes discipline from us to be consistent with what we have said before. If certain behaviours are not allowed, then they should never be condoned. It is a tiresome task to keep track of all our discipline measures and to remain firm especially when the tantrums happen in public, but it is only for the good of our children and to promote a simple idea that “no means no”. Otherwise, children get confused when we sometimes frown, yet sometimes allow them to misbehave simply because we are too exhausted to enforce the law.