Do you sometimes feel that the way you are disciplining your children isn’t working?

  • Do your children keep misbehaving?
  • Do you sometimes feel that they have the power?

When our children are challenging us or misbehaving they are often expressing a need for attention, connection or power. Here are a few tips of what to introduce to your daily routine to satisfy your child’s needs which will reduce the need for misbehaviour.

1. Notice how you are feeling

Children are very perceptive to how we are feeling. Have you ever noticed that when you are having a difficult day that will be the time they choose to test you? Start by becoming more aware of how you are feeling. Ask yourself at various times during the day how you feel and what you need to feel good about yourself. If you are aware of not feeling good, take time to give to yourself before interacting with your children. Your own self care is the best gift you can give your children.

2. Plan to consciously give your children love and connection every day

Here are simple ways to do this:

  • Look into your child’s eyes and tell them that you love them, keep the eye contact until they “receive” your message
  • Hug your children every day and when you hug them feel the love for them inside you while doing it
  • When they come to talk to you, listen to their story without interrupting or giving your opinion or advice…even if it doesn’t make sense, they will feel heard

3. Plan to give your children power

A few ways to give your children power:

  • Ask them their opinion often, this not only gives them significance, it also builds their awareness of their own thoughts and feelings
  • Give them privileges that are not attached to performance e.g. sitting in the front seat of the car, choosing the family movie, choosing their place at the table or in the lounge. Acknowledge them when you do it and notice if they feel seen
  • Allow them to make as many choices as possible e.g. what they wear, their choice for dinner one night etc. Notice how often you “tell” them what to do and each time find a way to give them a choice instead
  • Listen to their opinions and ideas without judgement. Teach them that people can have different opinions

4. Be consistent and firm in your boundaries without emotion

Set clear boundaries and fair consequences and communicate them with the shortest possible sentence. When children test boundaries, don’t give chances. Implement consequences without making them wrong or feel bad. When we try make them feel guilty or upset they will not be resourceful to think of a better option next time. When boundaries are being discussed, give them the opportunity to set their own consequences.

By practising these 4 small steps consistently each day you will start to notice a shift in your relationship with them and their behaviour will change automatically.

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