As a school psychologist with over 30 years' experience in education it still breaks my heart to hear how parents often treat their children. Through the years I have had students tell me how their parents have verbally abused them with daily insults and threats. I have witnessed parents try to control their child's behavior with threats in my office, and I have, over and over again seen the impact poor parenting techniques have on a child's self-esteem and how it even escalates a child's behavior.
But, being a part-time New Age practitioner I realize one of the biggest shortcomings of our society is lack of parent training. Obviously I'm using "lack" sparingly, for aside of brief "how to handle your baby" information a parent is supplied with in the hospital, a parent is sent home with their infant and it is left up to them as how to raise it. From my perspective it takes more training to get a driver's license then to raise a child. How do most parents "learn" discipline techniques? Usually from their parents. And if their parents were "Old School" the discipline more than likely revolved around a "slap" for not listening or talking back.
This authoritarian and even abusive style of parenting may have been accepted a hundred years ago, but it does not work today. It leads to children that either become submissive and develop poor self-esteem, or, children that become more oppositional, aggressive and assaultive.
The "New Age/ New Thought" practitioner philosophy I referred to centers around the difference between positive and negative thought. Positive thought (what you tell yourself) and communication (what you tell others) is uplifting, inspiring, encouraging, and empowering.
Negative thought and communication (that most naturally use) is discouraging, demoralizing, abusive, destructive, and self-destructive. What are you telling yourself? What are you saying to others? Which category, positive or negative, does it fall into? What you say and how you say it can make the difference between a happy, confident, compliant, respectful and well-adjusted child. Or one that is non-compliant, oppositional, aggressive, unhappy and maladjusted in life.
Below are some guidelines to help create a positive child, positive home life and even perhaps change the way a parent thinks! Follow these guides to create a caring, respectful and positive child!
1. Be Calm
Children learn from watching the behavior of adults. If you YELL, Scream, Threaten, Belittle, and Act Aggressively (assault), they imitate those behaviors. The more you scream and threaten your child the more you will have to scream and threaten them in order to make an impact. Your calm, caring and directive manners can deescalate your child's negative behaviors and teach them how to be in self-control.
2. Use "I" rather than "You" statements
When you start a statement with "you" it is easy to threaten, belittle and act negatively as in; "You better put those toys away or you will be sorry." Or "If you hit your brother again you are going to get it." Or "You are a bad boy!" Use "I" statements such as; "I love the way you are helping around the house and cleaning up!" Or "I love the way you have been keeping your hands to yourself!" Or "I know that you are trying your best and you always do the right thing!"
3. Have a Plan
a. Don't simply react to negative situations. Having a plan for your child's misbehavior creates confidence in your ability to redirect their behavior and helps you to stay calm and in control.
b. Use a behavior-incentive chart for their positive behaviors; i.e. picking up toys, finishing their homework, brushing teeth, going to bed on time etc.
c. Use silence and ignore minor infractions (ALL behavior is for ATTENTION!)
d. Have a "time-out" area for negative behaviors such as talking back, not following the rules or aggressive behaviors (such as a chair facing the wall; use 1 min. for each year-old, 5 year-old = 5 min.)
e. Make sure you discuss what behavior caused their "time-out," and end with, "I'm so proud of you that you are listening and understand how to do better. I know you will!"
4. Discuss Behavior
Children can hear "no" over 100 times a day. Use it sparingly and let the child know (calmly) when they are doing something inappropriate by telling them why. Such as: "I want you to hold my hand when we cross the street because cars cannot see you and I do not want you to get hurt." "I want you to walk down the stairs, because if you run it is easy to fall down and get hurt." Or "You can have a cookie after dinner as a treat. Cookies do not help you grow big and strong like your dinner does."
5. Create a POSITIVE Home
Continually yelling at your child, belittling them for acting inappropriately, or being overly authoritative ("Because I say so!") creates either an insecure, dependent child or an overly non-compliant and aggressive child.
a. Continually acknowledge good behavior
If all behavior is for attention -- what behaviors are you increasing by paying attention to them?
b. Use Positive Choices
"Would you like to put your toys away first or your coloring books and crayons?" Or "If you want a snack you need to finish your vegetables." Or "Do you want to put your pajamas on first or brush your teeth first?"
c. Use Positive directives
Emphasize rules by giving "when/then" directives; "When you put away your coloring books I will take out the play dough." Or "When I finish the dishes I will help you with your homework." Or "When you sit for 5 minutes and tell me why you hit your brother, then the TV will go back on."
d. Teach Calming techniques
Your child learns by observing you, so teach them how to be calm: "I want you to breath in through your nose and out through your mouth 5 times and then tell me why you are upset." Or "I want you to rub your belly like this and close your eyes, take 3 deep breaths and then tell me what happened." Or "I want you to close your eyes and count to 10, and then let me know why you did that."
e. Always be aware of your voice's volume, rate and tone
The louder you are, the louder your child will be. A fast rate of speech indicates that you are upset, and a sarcastic tone belittles your child. Use calm, slow directive speech to get your point across. It's not what you say; it's how you say it!
Copyright (c) 2013 Dr Dave DiSano
Article Source: http://www.abcarticledirectory.com
Dave DiSano, M.Ed., C.A.G.S., Ph.D. has a background as an educator and school psychologist in an inner city school system, Central Falls, RI. He is also the School District's Crisis Intervention Instructor. He is author of Holistic Mental Health (2009) and with his wife Mary DiSano, Divinely Touched: Transform Your Life (2011). email@example.com www.divinelytouched.com
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