Behavior management is crucial to positive and effective parenting. To manage behavior effectively, parents should start out by adhering to a few simple guidelines:
Maintain composure while parenting – especially while disciplining.
Losing one’s ability to remain cool means that there are now two people in need of intervention.
Know when to act and when to ignore specific behaviors.
Rule of thumb: If it is dangerous, illegal, or immoral, then act. If it is simply annoying or disruptive – ignore. Ultimately, it is up to the parent to decide how (or if) to respond.
Provide structure and consistency.
Without these two elements in place, children will feel anxious and uncertain. This may also make them want to “test the waters.”
Set firm boundaries and clear expectations.
Behavior management is next to impossible without these two factors in place.
Make sure consequences are administered swiftly.
The quicker the consequence, the bigger the impact on the child receiving it.
Use behavior management to teach, not to control.
Behavior management is not about exerting power and control over a child – it is about redirecting and teaching.
Sure, behavior management is not always as easy as this list might lead you to believe – but these six pieces of advice are a good place to start.
Parenting can be a daunting task. It is often a challenging, exhausting, and thankless job. It is important to remember, however, that it is perhaps the most important role you will ever have. The ability to manage behavior in a firm, calculated manner takes confidence, insight, and know-how. Parenting is a game of trial and error. Some behavior management techniques may work well with some children – but not with others. Keep trying – don’t get discouraged!
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Ready to up your parenting game?