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The Secret to raising well-behaved kids

3 May
Posted by:
Michael Grose

Kids crave three things – control, power and belonging. Parenting consistency delivers all three.

Stay with me and I’ll show you how.

Let’s look at control first.

Most kids like to feel they are in control of their lives. Some crave control more than others. One of my kids used to wake in the morning, and ask who was picking her up after school.

She yearned for control.

Routine was her friend. Being forwarned about changes was essential, otherwise she’d become stressed, even agitated.

She certainly couldn’t relax until she was certain of what’s going on.

If you have a child like this then the notion of consistency is paramount for your parenting.

Power is a fascinating notion.

It’s different to control. It means having the ability and competence to affect and influence your own world.

Power comes from the little things, not necessarily the big things of life. Doing up his shoe laces gives a young child power, just as be able to drive gives a teen significant power. That’s why independence is so important for kids. It gives them power. Kids who don’t have real power often, exert their own power over their parents.

Anyone who has a child who deliberately dawdles when they’re asked to do something for you is exerting their power over you! That’s not the sort of power you want kids to have.

A consistent approach gives kids real power and deals effectively with these annoying power plays.

Kids want to belong to their family.

Kids will belong to their families through positive or negative ways. If they can’t belong due to their positive place, then they’ll misbehave or belong in other negative ways. They be negative but at least you’ll know they are around. So these kids develop self-defeating beliefs about belonging.

Here’s some negative ways some kids belong to their families:
“I belong because I’m the best.”
“I only belong when I’m the centre of attention.”
“I belong when I’m the boss.”
“I only belong when I’m the best.”
“I only belong when I can please others.”

A parenting approach based on consistency between parents, as well as individual consistency can deliver control, power and belonging. Consistency not only brings predictability, which is important for kids, but it also makes it easier for parents.

One of the simplest ways to improve kids’ behaviour is to be more consistent.

Consistency means:

1. Being on the same page as your partner.

2. Having standards of behaviour, expectations and limits based on common sense, kids’ ages and stages of development and family needs.

3. Maintaining those standards and not altering them or responding to kids’ poor behaviour according to your mood.

4. Have child-friendly routines that take into account kids’ needs and temperaments as well as your own needs.

5. Responding consistently when kids misbehave.

Difficult children like consistency. Limits and boundaries provide them with structure and teach them how to behave.

Children also like to push parental boundaries so parents need to resist pressure that they can exert.

Consistency is a challenge as it’s tempting to let children’s misbehaviour go. We become tired and sometimes doubt our own judgement. It’s easy to think, ‘Maybe I’m being a bit tough.............. .’

Consistency prevents misbehaviour from escalating. We help children develop consistency, which is our aim, when we are consistent and do as we say we will –every time.

The challenge for you is to strive to develop the type of consistency of parenting that gives kids control, power and a sense of positive belonging. The three things they crave!

Get plenty of ideas to help you raise brilliant kids at  www.parentingideas.com.au

Tags:
  • adolesence
  • character
  • confident
  • consistency
  • discipline
  • disciplining
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