Inside: What can you do to Change Your Child’s Behavior Without Punishment, Yelling or Getting Mad
Everything I know about disciplining kids is apparently completely wrong.Dave, father of two
That’s what a dad shared with me in a parent group chat.
“I’m supposed to be nice when my son is misbehaving and being a brat ? I am sorry but I just don’t get it!”
What can I actually do to change my child’s misbehavior into cooperation?
My dad used to scream his head off at me and my brother. We were absolutely terrible, broke things, jumped each other, but if he walked in the room we straightened up immediately.Jenna, mother of three boys
“Tell a child often enough how bad he is and he will most certainly become bad” – Dr.Thomas Gordon, Parent Effectiveness Training.
Frustration and Yelling Can Fuel Your Child’s Misbehavior
It is so very frustrating when children do not behave the way you want them to.
It is tough for most parents to to deal with misbehavior, defiance, hitting and endless whining in a calm way.
So many parents find themselves yelling or nagging in hopes of seeing misbehavior changed into cooperation
When your child’s misbehavior persists, eventually you get tired or overwhelmed.
It doesn’t help that most children have phases where it seems they are misbehaving constantly or on purpose.
Two year olds love to say no.
Four year olds and defiance are like peanut butter and Jelly.
Five year olds will buy into a power stuggle so quickly.
That can make your days feel so long, and drain your patience faster than a toddler can sneak a cookie 😉
Here’s the thing… Your child isn’t misbehaving to give you a hard time!
Kids don’t act out just to bother parents. When children have reached their limit, their cup is empty and they can’t cope anymore they act out.
Instead of saying “Hey I am having a hard time here, I’m feeling anxious and scared so I started tugging at you.” No. Nope. Children don’t do that. They just tug at you!
So let’s look at what you can do about that:
Better Behavior Made Easier
Here’s the good news:
You Can Change Your Child’s Behavior Without Punishment.
It is possible to change your child’s misbehavior without yelling, and without letting them get away with “bad behavior.”
To tell the truth, “bad behavior” isn’t even a good way to talk about what is going on.
When children are struggling, they really don’t need us to be focusing on what is bad, but rather on what is actually happening below the surface.
We all struggle from time to time to behave in the best way. If you every yelled at your kid, flipped your lid, got really angry and then regretted it, then you know exactly what I mean.
Being on our “best” behavior takes a lot of effort. It’s no different for your child.
Well, actually, kids are often under even more pressure to behave perfectly…no matter what.
Here’s the thing: There is so much pressure on kids to behave in certain ways. There is also so much pressure on parents to make sure their kids are behaving ever so well, and sleeping, and eating healthy foods, and being nice helpers, being quiet, kind, sharing, always happy and, and, and…..!!! It’s too much!
We need to normalize a good deal of behaviors to make sure that children are given space to grow up well and healthy.
Young children cry when they are overwhelmed.
Children say no. They don’t always share and they sometimes get overwhelmed.
Children don’t always feel well, so they can’t always behave well.
“Children learn what they live” – Dorothy Law Nolte
What you focus on will grow, and if you expect your child to misbehave, they will.
You will catch your child being “bad” if that is what you are focusing on.
Let me share a secret with you (that shouldn’t be one at all)
Children thrive when they experience kindness, compassion and understanding. Yes even when they are misbehaving. It’s not the same as accepting any or all behaviors. It’s about showing up with the intent to stop unsafe behaviors and offer your child an opportunity to do better.
Believe that your child is good. Believe that your child is doing the best they can in the situation that they are in.
Believe your child CAN and will do better if you offer proper guidance.
Specifically, you can try any or all of these ideas to welcome more cooperation:
- Choose to teach instead of punish.
- Confidently set limits and start over instead of using an arbitrary consequence.
- Communicate in a firm but fair way (avoid name calling / shaming and stick to facts)
- Make decisions and stick with them. It’s perfectly ok, and necessary to stop behaviors that are unsafe.
- Notice more of the good behaviors and criticize less.
- Create rituals that show your child how much you care.
- Find solutions together, children are very clever and willing to help.
The more positive things you think and say about your child, the more connected you will feel.
More connection leads to more cooperation.
Dealing with extreme frustration related to misbehavior or unsure how to set limits, teach new skills or stop behaviors that are unsafe?
Venting out frustrations to someone you trust, can be helpful in getting unstuck.
When you notice that similar behaviors keep showing up over and over again, you don’t need better punishments, or clever consequences, you need to find real, actionable solutions.
Talking about bad moments and your frustrations can help you understand your situation and what is actually needed to help you and your child get unstuck.
If you want to feel calmer and more confident about changing your child’s behaviors you can set up a coaching appointment with me. It’s like talking to a true friend, there’s no judgement, no pressure and a whole lot of support. You can:
- Vent out your frustrations with bad behavior
- Let go of anger and pent up worries
- Share your wishes and goals so you can create real change
- Understand your child’s behaviors and why they are doing what they are doing
- Learn effective strategies that are kind, respectful and actually effective.
- Go back to enjoying parenting and family life.
Peace & Be Well,