Child Behaviour Solutions that Actually Work

Child behaviour solutions that really workAre you looking for child behaviour solutions that actually work?

As we approach Thanksgiving, I’ve no doubt there are parents out there trying to drift off to sleep at night with their calm thoughts being interrupted by visions of their preschooler screaming their head off during Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of enjoying warm fuzzies and thoughts of family bliss, they’re tossing and turning in their beds, wondering why getting together with family and friends is just so &$%#!&&# stressful! So for any parent looking for child behaviour solutions that actually work, first you have to understand what’s going on.

Understand the real reason

For any parent looking for peace of mind, there is really only one thing to keep in mind. That’s to understand that their worries about tantrum prone kids can melt away as easily as a knob of butter atop their mashed potatoes if only they stop seeing their child’s behaviour as their child’s problem and see it as theirs instead.

I know that sounds strange, but you see, when I go into homes, either in person or by Skype, many parents think that changing that behaviour is about the children. They want their children to stop doing X,  Y, and Z and think that if they can just get through to them to behave differently, the unpleasant behaviour will stop. This is why tips are so popular; it’s as if the behaviour is all about the behaviour. It’s not. It’s about them, the parents. Change the parent, and you change the kids.

Take heart, you can fix it.

Now if you’re personally struggling with your child’s behaviour, take heart before you drown yourself in a very large glass of wine or beer because you think you’re an abject failure. I’m not saying that at all. Parenting issues are hugely common, and most people are trying their hearts out. This isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds because you’d be surprised how a small change in how you frame the problem can lead to a quick solution, as in before Thanksgiving dinner quick. Recognizing that changing your reaction will change how your children behave is a huge first step.

There is a benefit to this because changing yourself is easier than trying to change children. You see, you’re a rational grownup. If someone says B will follow A, you’re not going to shout “no,” throw a tantrum, or hide under the chair. You’re going to see what’s happening because you have a well-formed and mature brain that can compute what evidence is put in front of it. 

Trying to change children without changing your own behaviour is like putting the cart before the horse, and it will lead you nowhere fast. That’s because everything you do on a daily basis sends a message. It’s either a helpful message or an unhelpful message, and it will either lead to solutions or problems. No, you don’t have to evaluate everything you say, but you do have to take a look to see generally where your natural tendencies lie.

So if you’re a parent looking for child behaviour solutions that actually work, let’s take a look at things we commonly say as parents and look at the messages they send, just for fun.

It’s time to go to bed, ok?

Translation: Bedtime is optional. If it’s not okay with them, you are quite happy to stay up all night reading stories or doing whatever their heart desires.

Use Instead: Ok, everyone, it’s time for bed.

What do you want to do today?

Translation: I haven’t got anything to do all day but entertain you. Everyone’s needs in our family take a back seat to your wants—not your needs, but your wants. Please direct my life. (Notice your leadership here has gone completely out of the window.)

Use instead: You can help mommy or daddy do groceries or whatever, and then once we’re finished, we can play a game.

Do you want to go to the park?

Translation: I don’t know what I want to do with my day.  I’m going to let you [insert your age] make the decision for me. After all, you know all about the obligations I have to fulfil during my day, don’t you?

Use instead: Let’s go to the park! (After you’ve decided, of course, when it works best for you.)

What do you want to eat?

Translation: I’m your personal chef. What are your orders for today?

Use instead:  Yay, look what we have for dinner tonight! Chicken and veggies Yum.

Now, just in case you think using the sentences above is no big deal, I would urge you to think again. All of these questions would be perfectly reasonable if you were hosting an adult guest. What would you like to do? Where would you like to go, etc.? That’s because when a guest comes, you go out of your way to make them feel super comfortable, relaxed, and catered to. You put other things aside so they come first, and when they finally leave, you probably sink exhausted on the sofa.

To find child behaviour solutions that actually work, ask what you want for your kids?

So do you really want your children to feel catered to, or do you want them to be part of something larger than themselves? By that, I mean your family. Do you want them to feel that every day you put their wants ahead of everyone else’s needs and all the other chores you have to do? Or do you want them to be doing things alongside you, learning from you, bonding with you, and being part of your activity? Do you want somebody who believes the world revolves around them, or do you want them to be a team player?

I don’t think anybody wants to end up with a child that screams their way through life, throwing fits when they don’t get their way. No parent wants to feel the gut-busting discomfort that comes with feeling embarrassed that their child simply doesn’t know how to behave and is obnoxious. But doing something about it means being okay with being a regular human being that makes mistakes.

To come up with child behaviour solutions that really work, you not only have to understand your role in how the behaviour originated but also what is sustaining the behaviour as that is the key to changing it. It might be hard, but you’ll be glad you did, and just so you know, struggling is entirely normal and human. If we all shared our struggles and were open about them, then I suspect the world would be a much happier place, and we’d all realize that we aren’t as alone as we’d thought.

You can create child behaviour solutions that actually work anytime.

Any family gathering is stressful enough for parents. Whether it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving, or just a weekend stay, all family visits come with obligations and heightened expectations. It can be a time of togetherness or it can be a time of stress. How it turns out is something only you can help with.  Please visit my services page to learn more about how I can provide you with the tools you need to permanently change your child’s behaviour.

Here are six tips for well-behaved kids.

Got a strong-willed child?  Here’s how you can best handle a strong-willed child.

Is your child special?  Here are Annie the Nanny’s thoughts on why telling kids how great they are too often can create issues.

Did you know I write for all kinds of sites like Kiddycharts, newspapers, parenting magazines and others.  Are you affiliated with a group or company that would like quality articles like the one above, or others in the article or advice column section of this site?  If so, please contact me. 

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