As parents, it’s but natural for us to want to teach our kids a lesson when they misbehave. In most cases, teaching them a lesson is often associated with punishment, like a scolding, grounding and even spanking. However, teaching kids a lesson without punishing them is always possible, and an article written by Dr. Laura Markham for Aha! Parenting shows how it can be done.
Guiding behavior in a positive way
Dr. Markham acknowledges that there are many parents who find themselves at a loss on what to say when guiding behavior in a positive way. She says parents can start by calming themselves, because that also teaches children how to calm themselves. Don’t start yelling at your child, because they will eventually learn how to do that or any other aggressive behavior you show to them. Just get out, breathe fresh air and return when you’ve calmed down before sitting down with your child.
It’s also great if we set appropriate limits and reminding them about those limits over and over in a calm way, because that is how children typically learn. Dr. Markham also says we have to acknowledge their feelings, that we understand what they want and what’s going on with them. In a way, we also have to be some sort of an emotion coach to our children before we actually teach them, so that they themselves will learn how to process their feelings and learn that some of the things they do can hurt people.
When your child misbehaves, Dr. Markham also suggests that we empower them to repair whatever damage or hurt they may have caused by their misbehaving. And when we do sit down to teach them a lesson, let’s steer clear of lectures and instead share to them our observations and wonder out loud to help kids reflect on their behavior.
Personally, I think Dr. Markham’s tips are excellent and very useful ones. In all honesty, however, most parents are often overtaken by their immediate reaction to whatever it is that their child did. Naturally, it doesn’t get the best results. If you ask me, the most important tip here is the part where the parent has to calm down and breathe deeply before talking to their misbehaving child. Once you are calm, everything, I believe, is going to be easier.
Click here to read the article in full.