How to teach kids to behave well

1 January 1970

How to teach kids to behave well

  • Behaviour
by Michael Grose

Discipline is one of the most important parts of parenting. It’s about keeping kids safe, making them social and enhancing their chances of success. It’s also about getting more cooperation from kids.

Discipline is easy if you have easy kids or they are in an easy stage of development.

But getting cooperation from kids who are challenging, going through a ‘difficult’ stage or who have difficult temperaments is a real discipline challenge for many parents.

Get it right and family-life is a breeze. Don’t have a plan and parenting can be a constant struggle.

Well-behaved kids

Effective parents use a broad range of strategies to promote appropriate behaviours and change behaviour when it’s less than perfect.

They also use strategies that are in line with modern teaching and child care methods … so smacking is out, but consequences, behaviour rehearsal and other forms of teaching kids to behave well are in.

Keep the following five principles in mind as you teach your kids to behave well :

  1. Avoid the first impulse when kids misbehave. Most children’s misbehaviour has a pay-off, so it’s important to change yourself, if you are going to change your children’s misbehaviour.
  2. The more time you spend teaching kids to behave well the less time you’ll spend responding to poor behaviour.
  3. Kids want good A-grade attention from parents. If they don’t get it they will settle for B-grade every time. Make sure you spend 1-on-1 time with kids each day, and get better at catching them doing the right thing.
  4. When you get tired you revert to your lowest level of parenting technique, so if that means yelling to get cooperation then that’s what you’ll do. The key is to practise better techniques when you aren’t stressed, so that when you do get tired your responses will be better.
  5. Effective parents have a big repertoire of strategies to use when kids misbehave, rather than rely on one or two techniques to improve behaviour. Build your repertoire of tools and language to promote better behaviour and get cooperation from kids.
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Michael Grose

Michael Grose, founder of Parenting Ideas, is one of Australia’s leading parenting educators. He’s an award-winning speaker and the author of 12 books for parents including Spoonfed Generation, and the bestselling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It. Michael is a former teacher with 15 years experience, and has 30 years experience in parenting education. He also holds a Master of Educational Studies from Monash University specialising in parenting education.