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Child Behavior Management -
Teaching Children to Behave Appropriately

Child behavior management ...

... is a subject that can be confusing for parents. Most parents don't want to shame, punish or humiliate their children, but they're not sure what to do to help them behave properly. Although behavior modification is hotly debated among experts, most agree that children need clearly defined limits. As a parent who wants to raise your child to get along with others, how do you define limits and what should you do when rules are broken? Below are three important tips.

Child Behavior Management Tips

1) First and foremost if you expect children to behave and follow rules, make sure they know what they are and understand why they're in place. Clarity is the essence of child behavior management which means the rules must be few, simple and clear. For instance, "We do not hit others" or "We do not draw on walls." When your child disobeys a rule, be gentle, but firmly repeat the rule "We do not hit others" and give a reminder about the reason why. For instance, "We use our words to tell others how we feel or what we need or want, rather than hitting them." Rule with reason and your child will act with integrity and strength.

2) Child behavior modification strategies should be employed when a child needs to change a behavior that hurts or endangers others or their property. Take this seriously because behavior that is threatening to others does not just go away. (If you have a child who seems to like to constantly antagonize others, read this article on child behavior development to learn whether your child's behaviors are a result of development or are something to be concerned about.)

Rather than resorting to blame, shame or punishment, appeal to your child's sense of compassion and do it in a way that is appropriate to your child's level of development. Considering a child's level of development is paramount to effective child behavior management.

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child behavior management

To do this, use story as a tool and take the scenario and turn it around. For instance, let's say that your child grabbed away another child's toy on the playground. Tell your child a simple "what if" story that makes her the victim of this same or a similar aggression. Afterwards, ask her how she thinks it must feel to be playing with a toy when another child grabs it away. Now make the association to the act she just committed by asking her how the other child must have felt. Next, ask her how she can make things right with the other child. This is how you teach compassion—you ask your child to imagine herself in another person's shoes. Although this takes more time than yelling at your child or punishing her, it will teach your child to consider other people's feelings and respect their limits before she acts.

3) Child behavior management can be even more challenging when your child is moody. Like adults, children have mood swings and may have periods when they're feeling down and it is difficult for them to control their impulses. Since this provides the impetus for them to act out, make sure your child has the essential for good behavior: healthy food, plenty of sleep and a secure relationship with you.

If she has a period in which she seems to have days where she's feeling mad or sad, help her learn how to express and release those feelings. Although children should be encouraged to express verbally what is bothering them, for some kids, physical activity can jump start the process.

Sometimes, a series of punches to a pillow or punching bag will create the physical release necessary to let the words come out. Other times, physical expression will be enough. If you notice that your child seems particularly moody, step up the time you spend together and also increase her level of physical activity by going on more walks, bike rides or trips to the playground. Get her out in the sunshine and help her feel close to you. Often, this is enough to neutralize a mood. Helping your child to find positive outlets for her feelings will help her to act from a secure, happy and healthy base.

Consider that teaching children discipline requires that you control your impulses. In fact, it may be better not to use the words child behavior management at all. Instead, focus on teaching your child the skills she needs to learn to get along with others in order to thrive in this world.

About the author: Laura Ramirez is the author of Keepers of the Children an award-winning parenting book that teaches parents how to raise children to have the courage to discover their unique strengths and talents. The book shows parents how to define a family code and explains the true meaning of teaching self-discipline.

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Child Behavior Management - Child Behavior


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