Hereâ€™s what makes child behavior management so challenging: kids, like adults, want to feel completely free to do as they please and to have what they want when they want it.
They donâ€™t want to have to go to bed, wait their turn, forego another piece of candy, put their toys away before moving on to another activity, turn off the video game, come in from playing outside to do their homework, wash their hands before eating.
Itâ€™s human nature to desire absolute, complete autonomy, without limits.
A central human challenge is learning how to deal with limits, even as we strive to overcome them.
Responsible parenting certainly includes setting limits on our childâ€™s behavior, at times, because what kidâ€™s want is not always in their best interest.
Responsible parenting also requires setting limits on parent behavior.
Correcting child behavior too harshly injures the child emotionally.
Ironically, overly harsh correction breeds child unruliness.
It teaches children to demonstrate cruelty in their relationships.
Relating insensitively with a childâ€™s feelings models insensitivity for the child, leading the child to relate insensitively with the feelings of others.
Being too rough on a child teaches the child to play too rough with others and to be too rough when handling of objects.
It fosters sloppiness, rudeness, and disrespect for order.
Ignoring childrenâ€™s feelings teaches them to ignore their own finer sensibilities, including their sense of compassion for others.
Paying attention to your child while correcting or directing child behavior will reveal to you when you are reacting too harshly.
You can then set limits on yourself to avoid responding to child behavior in a hurtful way.
We parents need to set boundaries and sometimes say â€śNoâ€ť, even when it deeply displeases the child.
But we need to do this compassionately, with genuine respect for the childâ€™s tender heart.
We need to set boundaries on the childâ€™s behavior to help the child demonstrate and develop responsible behavior patterns.
And we need to set limits on our way of parenting to insure that we consistently honor our childâ€™s feelings.
But itâ€™s easy to become so focused on what the child is doing â€śwrongâ€ť that we overlook the â€śwrongâ€ť way we are attempting to improve the situation.
Remember to pay attention to your childâ€™s feelings when:
- * Attempt to stop a problematic child behavior
- * Attempting to direct the child into a behavior
Thus, you demonstrate important parent behavior wisdom: you protect your childâ€™s feelings.