Parenting requires putting in some long hours and tough love, but in the end, it is all worth it! Do you want that child that sits quietly at a restaurant without throwing fits? Or maybe one who shares with other kids? The secret to a well-behaved child is simple, but following through is often the challenge.
No means no
I’m not saying you have to use the word “no”; what I’m saying is that when I tell my child something, I do it! Think of discipline as breaking a promise. If you tell a child that you will take away a toy if they misbehaving, that child trusts that you will do it, and if you don’t, you are essentially breaking a promise to them. Once they figure out you are not always true to your word, they will stop listening and get away with as much as possible. There have been numerous times I have told my daughter we will leave a special outing because she was behaving badly, and I kept my word. This didn’t happen very many times for her to figure out that she needed to behave.
Start teaching at a young age
Being nice and sharing is not an easy task for kids. At some point early on they begin saying, “Mine, Mine,” which is why it’s important to begin teaching kids that it is theirs, but sharing makes everyone happy. When my daughter began saying those words, I focused on sharing my things with her, and asking her to share with me. I did the same thing with playdates, and eventually, she began to love sharing. Talk about emotions and how happy it makes the other kids when they share, or how sad they get when they aren’t being shared with.
Be careful what you say
I’ve seen a lot of empty threats on playgrounds by parents, and kids that aren’t even phased by them. Nothing gets accomplished this way. If you give a 10 minute warning before leaving, you must round your kids up and take them when they begin throwing fits about wanting to stay. Not doing this will teach your child that a fit is all it takes to make you cave-in.
In everything you do with kids, show love. After reading love and logic, I realized that the bottom line is that kids need a lot of love even when they are in trouble, or acting badly. Even after major fits, and tantrums, and discipline, I make sure to give my daughter a hug and let her know how much I love her. When you discipline with love, and explain why they are in trouble, they begin to understand that you care about them. You’ll find that kids respond really well to discipline and seek it. You can have a well-behaved child if you put in the hard work!