"A misbehaving child is a discouraged child.” discovered psychiatrist Rudolf Driekurs.
The child feels discouraged when she does not feel belonged or significant. Though the resulting behavior seems like misbehaviour, it is in fact a signal for help.
Prevent misbehaviour in children: Is it possible?
Has it become a recurring negative behavioral pattern? Are you desperate to see a shift in your child’s attitude?
Give the following THREE things to your child consistently:
Give UNCONDITIONAL LOVE and ATTENTION:
Everyday, spend at least few minutes with your child. Show that you value your time together. Start by asking about things that are important to your child. Instead of asking general yes or no questions such as “Did you have a good day?", ask open ended questions to encourage dialogue:
“Whom did you play with during recess today?”
“What do you think of the upcoming choir auditions?”
Talk less, listen more. Connect without any hidden agenda. This will reduce the child’s need for undue attention.
If the child continues to interrupt you at other times of the day when you are busy, be kind and respectful. “I wish I could spend time with you now. But I have some other work to do. I am looking forward to our special time together after dinner.”
Treat your child as a responsible young person. Create opportunities for your child to realise how capable he is. Teach him how to do household chores.
Let him see how his contributions benefit the whole family. Notice positive behaviors without praising excessively:
“Thanks for setting the table. I appreciate your cooperation.”
Nobody likes to be ordered around. People feel significant when they feel their opinions count. Give your child freedom within limits. Imagine a circle with room to move around in the middle. As the child becomes older, expand the circle giving her more control over things that matter to her.
Set reasonable limits: Homework needs to be completed before dinner.
Give choices: Before or after playtime etc.
Respect her choices and have faith in her ability to make the right decisions. Don’t resort to punishment by taking away privileges when mistakes happen. Let her learn from the experience.
Your child may test your resolve to be kind and firm by acting out even more. But stay the course. Things will soon start to look up!