One of the toughest things parents have to do is to deal with their children’s behavior calmly and positively. Children thrive when their parents are positive, but many different techniques for discipline showcased over the years are no longer productive. Encouraging positive behavior in children is important in helping them become well-rounded individuals.
As a parent, you want your kids to behave well and have good manners, but it’s also important to realize that each one is an individual making their way through new situations. As with anyone else, they will stumble along the way. They will have feelings, and punishing them for those feelings doesn’t make sense. Instilling positive behavior in your children takes time because it often means you have to learn positive behavior yourself.
You may not have been raised with positive reinforcement in the household, and you may have been raised in conditions where behavior was labeled in a way that wasn’t conducive to your learning. Instead of repeating those behaviors, you might find that gentle parenting and attachment parenting techniques work better for you for your child to feel like they’re in a good space for positive behavior to come out.
Teach them to speak their truth
Some schools and educational settings like to use options like a bad behavior worksheet or other methods for discipline that help to control a group of 30 to 40 children at a time. But when you are parenting at home, you don’t often need to use these techniques. No parent wants a child to be aggressive or violent, to interrupt when adults talk, or to argue, but are all these things negatives? Not necessarily.
When children argue, it’s often because they feel how they’ve been treated hasn’t been fair, and they are allowed to have that opinion. The key is, instead of stopping them from arguing with you, teach them how to speak their truth in a constructive way. Below are more tips to encourage positive behavior in kids at home.
At home, be consistent
If you have boundaries and rules in the home, be consistent with those rules and help your child learn what they are. Your child is not going to know what is right or what is wrong by themselves. You have to let them know what the rules are and your expectations.
When they don’t meet the expectations, remind them – gently. Be consistent with those rules when you have clear and simple rules for the house and how they behave with other people.
That doesn’t mean reprimanding your child when they can’t follow the rules, don’t understand, or forget the guidelines. Instead, it means continually learning together.
You need to be a role model for them. That means following the same rules that you expect your children to follow, day in and day out.
Think about natural consequences
Lean on the side of natural consequences. You may have grown up being punished heavily for your behavior, actions, and mistakes. Did the punishments teach you much? Or did you just become a better liar so you wouldn’t be punished next time?
You don’t need to lose your mind when your child breaks one of the rules at home. You don’t need to feel disrespected as a parent. This is a child – their brains are still developing, and they are learning a lot about themselves and the world every single day.
Think about natural consequences. If your child drops a drink on the floor, the natural consequence is that they will be the one to clean it up and get themselves a new drink. Of course, natural consequences must be age-appropriate.
Positive reinforcement encourages certain child behavior
Positive reinforcement is king. If you want to encourage positive action in children, you must model positive behavior to children. That means reinforcing positivity.
Children often display negative behavior when craving attention because they know that any attention is better than no attention. If you notice things that they are doing well, compliment them. Make sure that you shine a light on the good things that they do.
Children will learn positive ways to get your attention if you praise them so that they do the things that you want them to do. Consider getting involved at your kid’s school too.
Use positive communication when you want to get things done at home or elsewhere. Use your manners, including “please” and “thank you,” when asking them to do something.
They will then start using these words themselves, and you can praise them when they do so. Teach them to say sorry too if they are doing anything wrong by saying sorry to them if they do something wrong.
It can be difficult to say sorry to and apologize for your own behavior to the child because it’s also very difficult to get out of the mindset that you know better just because you’re an adult. That is not always the case. Own this now when you have your own children is going to help you to be a better parent and a better teacher.
It takes time to be okay with saying sorry. And it takes time to help them to learn how to behave in the right circumstances. But give them the time because it’s so worth it. They are worth it.
To encourage positive behavior in kids, always do what you say
If you want to create a positive and trusting relationship with your children, follow through with everything you say you’re going to do. For example, if you say that you’re going to do their bedtime routine with them, then do it. If you want to make it fun for them, you can do that by adding little things to their bedtime routine. So, even if it’s getting them dinosaur slippers for kids and adults, you can share in their routine.
Here’s another example. If you say that you’re going to teach them something new, teach them. Your kid will feel excited to spend time with you and be in your presence. But if you’re going to take that away by not following through with what you say, you’re going to find negative behavior will be the next thing to deal with.
4 thoughts on “How to encourage positive behavior in children”
Solid advice, Christy! I think one of the keys is to be consistent. Kids learn when the expectations are laid out in advance and reasonable.
Excellent suggestion here, Pete – thanks for adding it!
Hi Christy, these are all good tips although it is not always to implement them. Parenting is not for the faint hearted.
You’re right Robbie that it’s often easier to suggest then put into action in the moment.