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Welcome to Effective Parenting.co.za - Understanding your baby in the first year - Bringing home a sibling - DISCIPLINE: Do behaviours - DISCIPLINE: Don't behaviours - TV, toy guns and sex education - Making up an essential CD Series for ALL parents - ORDER TODAY!!! - ONLY R80.00 per CD...

 
Adhd or just naughty
Good kids - bad behaviour
Bringing home a sibling
Children and change
Children and play - your baby
Children and TV - How much is too much?
Children and TV - How much is too much? (Winter)
Effects of PND on kids benefits
New baby... are you psychologically prepared
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GOOD KIDS - BAD BEHAVIOUR
1. TEMPER TANTRUMS
WHY DO CHILDREN DO IT?
WHAT NOT TO DO AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT..
Tantrums are a normal part of growing up. They usually occur within the second year of life, and are what commonly characterize the “terrible two’s”. But, tantrums can begin at three and four also – and they do not always subside until five or six years of age. So why do children have tantrums? If children were born with such a sophisticated sucking reflex, couldn’t they have been born with more civilized behaviors too?

Children tantrum when they don’t get what they want. This is a life crisis for them. up until now, there was a symbiotic relationship between what they wanted and what you wanted. So, if you wanted your baby to put on a jersey, he wanted that for himself too. He does not see himself as a completely separate human being and your wants and his are integrally linked. Now that he is bigger, he suddenly realizes that what you want and what he wants are completely different. That he wants to go outside to play in the rain and you won’t open the door because you don’t feel like a sick kid. So now there is a discrepancy between your wants and his demands, and this usually erupts into terrible temper tantrums.

But, not only is it a normal part of development, it is desirable. Why? Because your child is becoming an independent human being who can be autonomous in his world. This is part of the process of hatching! Of building a separate sense of self. He has to be different to you in order to become who he is! But, of course this process is stressful for children and parents alike.

When temper tantrums happen at three or four, they are usually more dramatic, and more stressful. This is because older children are more verbal and possibly more manipulative and so they have more “strategies” at their disposal to get their own way.

Temper tantrums usually need an audience. You might need to be careful about what you choose to attend to. If your child’s temper tantrums get lots of negative attention, it might reinforce rather than inhibit his performance. Joan learns that when she screams, cries, kicks and shouts everyone comes running to see what’s going on and then someone is bound to give into her. Try to attend to behaviors you want to encourage rather than behaviors you want to stop.

WHAT NOT TO DO?

Its no use responding to a temper tantrum by having one yourself. So what can you do about temper tantrums?

Firstly, survive the distress! Children need to learn that they can survive their negative feelings and so can you! They need to learn that they can be angry, upset, disappointed, frustrated, and helpless and survive those feelings. I think we as parents often try to keep children happy all the time. We only tolerate happy feelings and tell children to “stop crying” or to “stop being angry”. Children must be able to experience all their feelings- both positive and negative! In fact, Steven Bidulph in his book on “Raising Boys” found that boys who don’t cry shoot bullets instead. Children must be able to experience their feelings.

But they are not allowed to behave in an inappropriate manner! Your role as parent is to allow their feelings but not their inappropriate behaviors. They are not allowed to hurt others, themselves, or objects in their world.

Here is a three point plan:

1. . Acknowledge feelings: “I can see you are very cross”

2. Reflect the unfulfilled wish or want “… because you wanted to go outside to play”

3. Set the limit “but its raining”

4. Give a choice “mommy can read you a book or you can play with some dough”.

If this doesn’t work and your toddler continues kicking, screaming and crying you might have to leave the situation in a quiet and non-punitive manner. “I am going into the kitchen to make dinner and while I am there, I will be thinking of how cross you are”. In this regard you are ignoring his inappropriate behaviors but allowing and even respecting his feelings.

2. HITTING, KICKING AND HURTING
WHY DO CHILDREN DO IT?
WHAT TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO..

Children are in the process of learning impulse control. They are in the process of learning how to control their own behaviour. The younger they are, the less control they have. When your one year old feels cross, he hits or throws or cries. This is normal at one but not at twenty-one.

Our job is to help our children learn impulse control as they grow up. Our role as parents is to help our children verbalize their feelings without acting them out. This means that we allow our children to express their feelings even if they are negative ones, but we do not allow them to express their inappropriate behaviours – like hitting, kicking and hurting.

WHAT NOT TO DO

Do not hit back. Children need you to contain their difficult feelings and behaviours rather than add to the drama.

WHAT TO DO

SET THE LIMITS
Allow chidren to experience their feelings, but set limits to their inappropriate behaviours. This is where you say, “Joan, you are allowed to be cross but you are not allowed to hurt your sister.”

SUBSTITUTE BEHAVIOURS

You add: “Joan, you can hit the ball instead”. For young children I like to substitute appropriate for inappropriate behaviors. It is inappropriate for Joan to hurt her sister, but it is appropriate for her to hit the ball when she feels so cross.

3. BITING
WHY DO CHILDREN DO IT?
WHAT TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO..

Biting does not bring out the best in parents! When your baby or toddler bites it does not mean he will become a canabal, nor does it mean he seas his parents biting each other at home. There is a very strong aggressive impuslve in young chidlrne. Love and aggression are closely linked. Have you ever said to your little one “I love you so much I can eat you up”. This reflects the close relationship between love and aggression. This does not mean that parents should tolerate aggressive behaviour. Biting is anti-social and chidrne have to learn to become sociable human beings.

When toddlers begin to bite other toddler they often get a dramatic reaction from the victim, the teacher, mom and the audience. This can reinforce the biting. You will have to deal with the biter in private.

WHAT NOT TO DO

Don’t bite back. Parents teach by example. Children do not do what you say, they do what you do! If you say “no biting” and then you bite them back “to see how it feels” they learn to bite.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

SET THE LIMIT AND TAKE ACTION
If you are carrying your toddler and he bites you, you need to say firmly “no”, and put him down.
You need to give him both a verbal and a non-verbal message that biting is not tolerated.

Remove the child form the situation. Children will learn form the consequences of experience. If he can’t be with other children happily, then he will have to be alone.

4. STEALING

When young children like something they take ownership over it. It becomes part of them. This means that they might take home what doesn’t belong to them.

WHAT NOT TO DO

You do not have to lecture and moralize. Psychological theory claims that moral development only begins from 4 years of age (Kohlberg).

WHAT TO DO

Take the object back with your child in a matter of fact kind of way. You might say: “Gina took this home and it doesn’t belong to us so we are returning it to you”. Omit the moral judgment, emotionality and criticism.

5. LYING

Children under the age of 6 live in world where the boundaries between fantasy and reality are diffuse. That is why they play so well. Because a block can become a cell-phone in their imaginary games. Lying can be a part of the child’s imagination. Liam came home from play school and told his mother that the teacher cracked her head open and now she has no head. Does Liam’s mom reprimand him for lying? How does she let him know that this is not true without putting him down?

WHAT NOT TO DO?

Reprimand him for lying. If you do Liam might stop using his imagination and stick to the world of reality which means that he becomes more likes an adult than a child.

WHAT YOU CAN DO?

Put his fantasies in the right place. Say “Imagine that …gee whiz. Imagine if your teacher had no head at school. She wouldn’t even be able to talk”. In this way, you have allowed him the space to think creatively, but you have also stuck to the clear boundaries of what is real and what is not.

6. WHINING, MOANING AND NAGGING

Children often whine, nag or moan when they are not being heard. They become attention seeking. But of course, Children end up with negative attention rather than positive attention. A vicious cycle begins: the more your child moans the less you want to attend to him and the less you attend to him, the more he will moan.

WHAT NOT TO DO?

Punish him for moaning. He needs attention, not discipline.

WHAT TO DO?

Give him positive attention. Get down to his level, make eye contact and answer his question, request or whatever. His behaviour is giving you an important message: “am I important enough to stop your adult life to take notice of?”

I have also asked children to use their “other voice”. It always amazes me to see that they know what I mean, even though no-one has ever explained what that “other voice is”.

7. CLINGING

Children often feel emotionally and physically safe with their parents. Parents are their source of love, attention, power and even physical sustenance. Children strive to become autonomous human beings, but they might vacillate between being quite independent and dependent at times. The trouble with clinging children is that parents feel enslaved by their children because of it. Parents end up feeling angry and hostile, wandering “whets wrong with my child that he can’t let me go to the toilet alone?”

WHAT NOT TO DO?

The more you push him to be independent, the more he will cling to you. His clinging is a non-verbal message that reads “for whatever reason I need to be with you”. Give in to this need where possible.

WHAT TO DO?

Evaluate your expectations. I have often found that parents, unknowingly, have high expectations of children to be independent and autonomous at a young age. Sometimes we need to remember that they are only little ant that they are still very dependent on us to meet their emotional needs

Saying “no” - Children learn to say “no” long before they learn to say “yes”. This is a very important stage of emotional development, because it heralds in the establishment of a sense of self. When you’re 18 month old says “no” he is asserting his sense of self. He is telling you that he is different to you in the world. Parents have often complained that “no” might not mean “no” – but actually the absolute opposite at times. So it’s the power that children like from the word.

 

WHAT NOT TO DO?

Reprimand him for saying no. This is an important step in his emotional development.

WHAT TO DO?

Allow him to say “no”. This does not mean you always do what he says, but you allow him the space to express himself.

 
 
 
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