Counting methods, sticker charts, automatic timers, fuzzy pom-poms and rubber bands…good discipline? These are some of the popular recommendations for dealing with misbehavior.
If you tried all the best discipline hacks and your child is perfectly well-behaved great.
If counting, consequences, and other discipline hacks haven’t worked, and you want to change things up, I’ve got some answers for you.
Quick Tricks usually fail when it comes to fixing kids behaviors.
Repetitive behavior problems cannot be fixed with one or two clever discipline hacks.
Also, this…. Easy behavior fixes can make your kids behave worse instead of better.
So called easy discipline fixes like counting to three, time out and taking a favorite toy away makes kids feel bad.
When kids feel bad, they are more likely to behave badly too.
When the discipline hack totally failed
Just imagine your kids room is a huge mess. Itty bitty L.O.L doll accessories and legos scattered everywhere. Three day old socks, books and plushies abandoned on the floor. Puzzle pieces, nerf darts, figurines?
Whatever it is, You have asked your child to clean up one, a hundred, ok actually a thousand times.
You are so annoyed you google discipline hacks for cleaning kids rooms. The garbage bag take away sounds at this point like gold. You are exausted, annoyed and so over all that stuff on the floor.
You bring the garbage bags and threaten to haul everything away.
Okay, okay, okay I will clean your child whines in return….
But your child isn’t motivated, they are fearful!
Chances are your child will angrily shove as much as they can into a closet. Hide stuff under the bed? Meltdown, freeze or scream?
There is still a mess. You yell. Your child cries. You make a new threat.
Your child hasn’t learned how to clean up their own belongings at all. That’s simply not discipline. It’s a game of control with no real winners.
The thing about quick fixes for difficult and unwanted behaviors is that they often rely on control instead of cooperation.
SHORT TERM CONTROL BASED DISCIPLINE DOES NOT TEACH
Did you know the human brain actually thrives on collaboration?
Your child’s brain, your brain, all of us are much calmer and happier when working together instead of against each other.
Both the field of Neuroscience and Psychology have researched and looked at the hormones and activity in the body and the brain when people are being cooperative.
This kind of research is golden when it comes to parenting and discipline.
- When humans are cooperating with one another, the pleasure centers of the brain light up.
- Humans are truly hard-wired to be generous and helpful with others.
- Parents and children that work together, instead of each other are much happier and calmer.
- Studies of the human brain have shown that the act of cooperating makes us happy.
- When children feel like they are being controlled they are prone to becoming increasingly anxious or nervous.
- Choosing a cooperative discipline approach is a direct way to increase your entire family’s sense of well-being.
Positive Parenting focuses on cooperation instead of control.
Let’s Talk About Fixing Misbehavior with Cooperative Solutions
When your child misbehaves, they are lacking information, trying to get a need meet or feeling discouraged.
Children don’t misbehave to give you a hard time.
Behaviors like crying, not listening, hitting, fighting with a sibling, refusing to go to sleep, not cleaning up their own belongings are actually normal for a growing child.
Misbehavior is not a sign of parental failure. It is a sign that your child is growing and learning.
It doesn’t mean that you should just sit and let your child behave in any way they want. That would be neglectful and in no way helpful.
Children have parents precisely because they need a trusted person in their life to offer love, safety and guidance.
What you can do instead of ignoring misbehavior or punish it, is notice the behaviors and learn to respond. When you are responding to unhelpful or unwanted behaviors you can do that in ways that will teach your child how to make better choices.
The reality is that children have immature brains and often behave impulsively.
So they usually can’t even tell you WHY they are behaving a certain way.
Instead, as the parent, it can be helpful to stay curious, and be inquisitive about your child’s behavior. Assume the best instead of the worst as you try to understand and help your child do better.
Every healthy child misbehaves. This is part of the growing and learning process.
Unhelpful and unnecessary behavior from young children should always be addressed.
Just keep in mind that Traditional “disciplinary actions” for these bad, repetitive behaviors don’t usually work.
Quick Fixes = Short term gains with long term consequences
Warning, time outs and taking toys away do not invite helpful behaviors.
You might get your child’s attention (as a stress response) but you will not be teaching your child how to meet your expectations or behave better.
While children are very capable and intelligent, they don’t necessarily have the life experience, maturity and self control to make appropriate choices all the time.
Taking a cooperative approach to responding to misbehavior means that long term your child learns necessary skills to feel well and behave well.
So here are some alternatives to quick discipline fixes that actually work:
- Special time
- Time In
- Making agreements
- Teach Problem Solving Skills
- Use these 12 Alternatives to time out.
Keep in mind, it’s ok to grab a quick fixes during a really difficult situation, but the more you practice cooperative solutions the less you will need to rely on control tactics. Discipline that focuses on connection speaks to your child’s heart and mind at the same time. This is how children learn best and grow feeling confident, capable and happy to cooperate with you.
Peace and be well,