Providing the discipline and guidance your child needs , takes skill and a focused effort…a lot to ask when both parents work. It’s even more difficult when there is more than one child in the family. Each child needs to be handled differently.
Here are some great foundational tips:
- Stay calm – no yelling, even when thing might get personal. You must remember that yelling, screaming, name calling are all just behaviours. Underneath that, is that loving soul that will grow into a perfectly normal adult. Respond to your child in a calm, loving way, with consistency. Consistency being the key word.
- Don’t take what your child says personally. They are not purposely trying to be difficult – don’t blame yourself or him.
- Yes, the struggles are about power. And your child is realising they do have some power and the best testing ground starts with you. Important to let go of the apron strings and let them start making some of their own decisions – choosing what clothes they want to wear, who they want to play with etc. (My granddaughter, Phoebe has been known to go out in gardening gloves!)
- Prioritise whatever the issue is, and talk to them about it. Some issues are more important than others, and can be put further down the list for later.
- Be empathic, while remaining calm but firm – listen without worrying about the future, or harking back to the past.
- Children do hear you the first time. There is no need to keep repeating yourself. Give instructions twice, and be swift with the consequences. eg. no TV, no play dates, or a relevant punishment.
- Any changes in strategies you make with your child will most likely result in worse behaviour before it gets better. Be prepared for that, and stick with it. Your child will test the boundaries.
Once the changes are established, and you are providing the discipline and guidance your child needs , you will be able to enjoy that relationship once again. You can rest assured, you are both being the best that you can be!