Children disobey adults quite frequently. It’s their way of finding out where the boundaries are, challenging us and showing that they too have a temper and want to lead. The typical “you’re out” punishment doesn’t work with little ones who are saturated with objects to distract themselves so that if we remove one, they can always go to another. What can we do then?
Punishment in Its Proper Measure
Experts point out that punishing a child is counterproductive, hurts their self-esteem, produces tension and reinforces their behavior. But it is necessary to “educate them in reality,” so they understand that if they misbehave, there are consequences for their actions. Reprimanding and punishing them would not be negative as long as these premises are taken into account:
- For a punishment to be educational, we must explain to our son, calmly, without shouting or fuss, why his behavior was wrong and encourage him to correct it.
- We need to know in advance the limits we cannot cross and the punishment we will receive if we do so to assess whether it is worth breaking the rules.
- Punishment should be immediate, proportional, balanced and consistent with age, maturity level and type of offense committed.
- Do not use absolute restrictions such as “you don’t get paid anymore forever” and punish consistently. It is impossible to go a week without watching television. Forbidding him to enjoy his favorite show for a few days is enough.
- Continuous threats and warnings make the punishment less effective. Give him three warnings, no more.
- Don’t forgive the punishment just like that and, if you do, explain why you did it. If you were angry because you were in a bad mood about something else and were too harsh, apologize, explain and correct.
- Don’t use his basic needs to punish him; your rest, your diet, the sports you play…
- Educate your child without shouting and without comparing him to other children, less to his brothers.
- If he tries to hug you, kiss you or tell you that he loves you to repair the damage done, do not reject him because he may feel hurt.
- Encourage him when he does the right thing, reinforcing that behavior, paying attention when he obeys and has a good attitude, and telling him that this is the way he should behave.
So, if psychologists insist that it is better to reinforce positive behaviors in our children than to simply punish them when they misbehave, these techniques will come in handy when you need to reprimand him.
If he doesn’t want to study, don’t insist, just ask him which subject he will study first. In this way, we create the illusion that the child is the one who freely chooses what he wants to do, so he will feel more valued.
Useful with aggressive and disobedient little troublemakers, it focuses on removing them from the situation. If he bounds on the couch, you stop him immediately and make him sit in a chair for a while.
It involves the child repairing the damage he or she has caused or repeating what he or she has done in an alternative, positive way.
Stickers and Points
It rewards the child’s positive behaviors with a sticker of a certain shape or color and penalizes negative behaviors with another. For this to work, it is essential to be clear about the number of points to be accumulated to obtain a prize and that the prize be immaterial: a family outing, a snack with friends, etc.
It is useful if you are over 10 years old. Make a contract to change certain behaviors of the child and the parents – she may be annoyed that you enter her room without knocking. The contract should state the privileges that will be gained if you change your attitude and the penalty if you don’t follow it.
There you are! With those tips, teaching your child how to be more obedient should be easy. What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments below.