As a parent, one of your jobs to teach your child to behave. It's a job that takes time and patience. But, it helps to learn the effective and healthy discipline strategies.
Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on the best ways to help your child learn acceptable behavior as they grow.
10 healthy discipline strategies that work
The AAP recommends positive discipline strategies that effectively teach children to manage their behavior and keep them from harm while promoting healthy development. These include:
Show and tell. Teach children right from wrong with calm words and actions. Model behaviors you would like to see in your children.
Set limits. Have clear and consistent rules your children can follow. Be sure to explain these rules in age-appropriate terms they can understand.
Give consequences. Calmly and firmly explain the consequences if they don't behave. For example, tell her that if she does not pick up her toys, you will put them away for the rest of the day. Be prepared to follow through right away. Don't give in by giving them back after a few minutes. But remember, never take away something your child truly needs, such as a meal.
Hear them out. Listening is important. Let your child finish the story before helping solve the problem. Watch for times when misbehavior has a pattern, like if your child is feeling jealous. Talk with your child about this rather than just giving consequences.
Give them your attention. The most powerful tool for effective discipline is attention—to reinforce good behaviors and discourage others. Remember, all children want their parent's attention.
Catch them being good. Children need to know when they do something bad--and when they do something good. Notice good behavior and point it out, praising success and good tries. Be specific (for example,
"Wow, you did a good job putting that toy away!").
Know when not to respond. As long as your child isn't doing something dangerous and gets plenty of attention for good behavior, ignoring bad behavior can be an effective way of stopping it. Ignoring bad behavior can also teach children natural consequences of their actions. For example, if your child keeps dropping her cookies on purpose, she will soon have no more cookies left to eat. If she throws and breaks her toy, she will not be able to play with it. It will not be long before she learns not to drop her cookies and to play carefully with her toys.
Be prepared for trouble. Plan ahead for situations when your child might have trouble behaving. Prepare them for upcoming activities and how you want them to behave.
Redirect bad behavior. Sometimes children misbehave because they are bored or don't know any better. Find something else for your child to do.
Call a time-out. A
time-out can be especially useful when a specific rule is broken. This discipline tool works best by warning children they will get a time out if they don't stop, reminding them what they did wrong in as few words―and with as little emotion―as possible, and removing them from the situation for a pre-set length of time (1 minute per year of age is a good rule of thumb). With children who are at least 3 years old, you can try letting their children lead their own time-out instead of setting a timer. You can just say,
"Go to time out and come back when you feel ready and in control." This strategy, which can help the child learn and practice self-management skills, also works well for older children and teens.
Spanking and harsh words are harmful and don't work. Here's why:
The AAP policy statement, "Effective Discipline to Raise Healthy Children," highlights why it's important to focus on teaching good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior. Research shows that spanking, slapping and other forms of physical punishment don't work well to correct a child's behavior. The same holds true for yelling at or shaming a child. Beyond being ineffective, harsh physical and verbal punishments can also damage a child's long-term physical and mental health.
Spanking's unhealthy cycle. The AAP advises that parents and caregivers should not spank or hit children. Instead of teaching responsibility and self-control, spanking often increases aggression and anger in children. A
study of children born in 20 large U.S. cities found that families who used physical punishment got caught in a negative cycle: the more children were spanked, the more they later misbehaved, which prompted more spankings in response. Spanking's effects may also be felt beyond the parent-child relationship. Because it teaches that causing someone pain is OK if you're frustrated—even with those you love. Children who are spanked may be more likely to hit others when they don't get what they want.
Lasting marks. Physical punishment increases the risk of injury, especially in children under 18 months of age, and may leave other measurable marks on the brain and body. Children who are spanked show higher levels of hormones tied to
toxic stress. Physical punishment may also affect brain development. One study found that young adults who were spanked repeatedly had less gray matter, the part of the brain involved with self-control, and performed lower on IQ tests as young adults than the control group.
Verbal abuse: How words hurt. Yelling at children and using words to cause emotional pain or shame also has been found to be ineffective and harmful. Harsh verbal discipline, even by parents who are otherwise warm and loving, can lead to more misbehavior and mental health problems in children.
Research shows that harsh verbal discipline, which becomes more common as children get older, may lead to more behavior problems and symptoms of depression in teens.
Learn from mistakes—including your own
Remember that, as a parent, you can give yourself a time out if you feel out of control. Just make sure your child is in a safe place, and then give yourself a few minutes to take a few deep breaths, relax or call a friend. When you are feeling better, go back to your child, hug each other, and start over.
If you do not handle a situation well the first time, try not to worry about it. Think about what you could have done differently and try to do it the next time. If you feel you have made a real mistake in the heat of the moment, wait to cool down, apologize to your child, and explain how you will handle the situation in the future. Be sure to keep your promise. This gives your child a good model of how to recover from mistakes.
Healthy & effective discipline tips by age/stage
Babies learn by watching what you do, so set examples of behavior you expect.
Use positive language to guide your baby. For example, say, "Time to sit," rather than,
Save the word,
"no," for the most important issues, like safety. Limit the need to say
"no" by putting dangerous or tempting objects out of reach.
Distracting and replacing a dangerous or forbidden object with one that is okay to play with is a good strategy at this age.
All children, including babies, need consistent discipline, so talk with your partner, family members, and child care provider to set basic rules everyone follows.
Your child is starting to recognize what's allowed and what isn't but may test some rules to see how you react. Pay attention to and praise behaviors you like and ignore those you want to discourage. Redirect to a different activity when needed.
Tantrums can become more common as your child struggles to master new skills and situations. Anticipate tantrum triggers, like being tired or hungry, and help head them off with well-timed naps and meals.
Teach your toddler not to hit, bite, or use other
aggressive behaviors. Model nonviolent behavior by not spanking your toddler and by handling conflict with your partner in a constructive way.
Stay consistent in enforcing limits. Try short
time-outs if needed.
conflicts between siblings but avoid taking sides. For example, if an argument arises about a toy, the toy can be put away.
Preschool-age children are still trying to understand how and why things work and what effect their actions have. As they learn appropriate behavior, expect them to continue testing the limits of parents and siblings.
Begin assigning age-appropriate
chores, like putting their toys away. Give simple, step-by-step directions. Reward them with praise.
Allow your child to make choices among acceptable alternatives, redirecting and setting sensible limits.
Teach your child to treat others as she wants to be treated.
Explain that it's OK to feel mad sometimes, but not to hurt someone or break things. Teach them how to deal with angry feelings in positive ways, like talking about it.
To resolve conflicts, use
time-outs or remove the source of conflict.
Your child is beginning to get a sense of right and wrong. Talk about the choices they have in difficult situations, what are the good and bad options, and what might come next depending on how they decide to act.
Talk about family expectations and reasonable consequences for not following family rules.
Provide a balance of privileges and responsibility, giving children more privileges when they follow rules of good behavior.
Continue to teach and model patience, concern and respect for others.
Don't let yourself or others use physical punishment. If you live in an area where corporal punishment is allowed in schools, you have the right to say that your child may not be spanked.
Adolescents & Teens
As your teen develops more independent decision-making skills, you'll need to balance your unconditional love and support with clear expectations, rules, and boundaries.
Continue to show plenty of affection and attention. Make time every day to talk. Young people are more likely to make healthy choices if they stay connected with family members.
Get to know your teen's friends and talk about responsible and respectful relationships.
Acknowledge your teen's efforts, achievements, and success in what they do―and don't do. Praise the choice to avoid using tobacco, e-cigarettes, alcohol, or other drugs. Set a good example through your own responsible use of alcohol and other substances.
15 Tips to Survive the Terrible 3's
How to Shape and Manage Your Young Child's Behavior
Disciplining Older Children
How to Give a Time-Out
Effective Discipline to Raise Healthy Children (AAP Policy Statement)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Encouraging good behaviour in kids: tips
How to encourage good behaviour in your child
Children quickly learn how to behave when they get positive, consistent guidance from you. This means giving your child attention when they behave well, rather than just applying consequences when your child does something you don’t like.
Here are some practical tips for putting this positive approach into action.
Tips for good behaviour
1. Be a role model Use your own behaviour to guide your child. Your child watches you to get clues on how to behave – and what you do is often much more important than what you say. For example, if you want your child to say ‘please’, say it yourself. If you don’t want your child to raise their voice, speak quietly and gently yourself.
2. Show your child how you feel Telling your child honestly how their behaviour affects you helps your child see their own feelings in yours. And if you start sentences with ‘I’, it gives your child the chance to see things from your perspective. For example, ‘I’m feeling upset because there’s so much noise and I can’t talk on the phone’.
3. Catch your child being ‘good’ When your child is behaving in a way you like, give your child some positive feedback. For example, ‘Wow, you’re playing so nicely. I really like the way you’re keeping all the blocks on the table’. This works better than waiting for the blocks to come crashing to the floor before you take notice and say, ‘Hey, stop that’.
This positive feedback is sometimes called descriptive praise because it tells children specifically what they’re doing well. Try to make five positive comments for every negative comment. And remember that if children have a choice between no attention or negative attention, they’ll often seek out negative attention.
4. Get down to your child’s level When you get close to your child, you can tune in to what they might be feeling or thinking. Being close also helps your child focus on what you’re saying about their behaviour. If you’re close to your child and have your child’s attention, you don’t need to make them look at you.
5. Listen actively To listen actively, you can nod as your child talks, and repeat back what you think your child is feeling. For example, ‘It sounds like you feel really sad that your blocks fell down’. When you do this, it can help young children cope with tension and big emotions like frustration, which sometimes lead to unwanted behaviour. It also makes them feel respected and comforted. It can even diffuse potential temper tantrums.
6. Keep promises When you follow through on your promises, good or bad, your child learns to trust and respect you. Your child learns that you won’t let them down when you’ve promised something nice, and your child also learns not to try to change your mind when you’ve explained a consequence. So when you promise to go for a walk after your child picks up their toys, make sure you have your walking shoes handy. When you say you’ll leave the library if your child doesn’t stop running around, be prepared to leave straight away.
7. Create an environment for good behaviour The environment around your child can influence their behaviour, so you can shape the environment to help your child behave well. This can be as simple as making sure your child’s space has plenty of safe, stimulating things for your child to play with. Also make sure that your child can’t reach things they could break or that might hurt them.
8. Choose your battles Before you get involved in anything your child is doing – especially to say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ – ask yourself if it really matters. By keeping instructions, requests and negative feedback to a minimum, you create fewer opportunities for conflict and bad feelings. You can use family rules to let everyone know what’s really important in your family.
9. Be firm about whining If you give in when your child is whining for something, you can accidentally train your child to whine more. ‘No’ means ‘no’, not ‘maybe’, so don’t say it unless you mean it.
10. Keep things simple and positive Instructions should be clear, short and appropriate for your child’s age, so your child can understand and remember them. And positive rules are usually better than negative ones, because they guide your child’s behaviour in a positive way. For example, ‘Please shut the gate’ is better than ‘Don’t leave the gate open’.
11. Give children responsibility – and consequences As your child gets older, you can give your child more responsibility for their own behaviour. You can also give your child the chance to experience the natural consequences of that behaviour. For example, if it’s your child’s responsibility to pack for a sleepover and your child forgets their favourite pillow, the natural consequence is that your child will have to manage without the pillow for the night.
At other times you might need to provide consequences for inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour. For these times, make sure that you’ve explained the consequences and your child has agreed to them in advance.
12. Say it once and move on If you tell your child what to do – or what not to do – too often, your child might end up just tuning out. If you want to give your child one last chance to cooperate, remind your child of the consequences for not cooperating. Then start counting to three.
13. Give your child the chance to succeed Set your child up to behave well, and then praise them for it. For example, give your child some simple chores or things that your child can do to help the family. Praising your child’s behaviour and effort will encourage your child to continue. And giving your child a lot of practice doing a chore helps them get better at it, feel good about doing it, and want to keep doing it.
14. Prepare for challenging situations There are times when meeting your child’s needs and doing things you need to do will be tricky – for example, when you’re shopping, in the car or at an appointment. If you think about these challenging situations in advance, you can plan around your child’s needs. Give your child a five-minute warning before you need them to change activities. Talk to your child about why you need their cooperation. Then your child is prepared for what you expect.
15. Maintain a sense of humour It often helps to keep daily life with children light. You can do this by using songs, humour and fun. For example, you can pretend to be the menacing tickle monster who needs the toys picked up off the floor. Humour that has you both laughing is great, but humour at your child’s expense won’t help. Young children are easily hurt by parental ‘teasing’.
How to behave with children? Psychologist's advice
When disturbing, frightening events occur or a situation of uncertainty arises, parents are often worried about questions: how to behave with a child correctly, how to tell him about what is happening and whether to tell him at all what in the child’s behavior should alert, and what, on the contrary, is normal.
In child psychology, it is customary to distinguish several age periods. Consider the features of interaction with children of preschool (3-7 years old) and primary school (7-11 years old) ages.
A few recommendations:
The greatest influence on the child is not even the situation itself, but the reaction to it of close adults who surround him. For a preschooler, such adults will be parents and those adult family members with whom communication takes place every day; For the younger student, the teacher also plays a significant role:
Children are very sensitive to the emotional state of close, important adults. When an adult is upset, anxious, scared, the child also experiences these emotions. If the child does not know the reason, then helplessness is added to fear and anxiety. Therefore, when you see a child's need to talk, do not ignore it.
Example: You are upset and need some time to recover. The child feels this and insistently asks the question “What happened?”
Wrong answer: "Nothing happened, go play (draw, do your homework)"
The correct answer is: “I’m a little upset (alarmed, sad) now because ..., let’s draw a robot now (do your math homework), and then we’ll go for a walk (we’ll have dinner).”
When talking to your child, use simple, child-friendly phrases and expressions.
Ask about the child's point of view. This will help you understand what worries, scares or worries him, and you can provide the necessary psychological support.
Try not to contradict the positions of the adults. Putting a child in a situation of choice, you place an unbearable burden on him.
Children very quickly adapt to the situation, BUT! Only on condition that the behavior of adults gives them such an opportunity.
Pay attention to information hygiene:
Pay attention to what you watch or talk about with your family, friends, acquaintances. Try not to see or hear what is not intended for him: emotional disputes with colorful examples, news releases with frightening details. Sometimes there is a feeling that the child does not pay attention to what is happening - this is an illusion! Based on the information obtained in this way, children often draw their own conclusions about what is happening, which are often the cause of children's fears.
At primary school age, the information field of the child expands, it includes school friends, classmates, many at this age master communication on the Internet. Show interest in this area, ask about his friends and hobbies. A trusting relationship will help you spot trouble or danger.
Talk to children about topics that concern them, do not limit yourself to the phrases “everything will be fine”, “this is an adult topic, you won’t understand”, etc. If adults do not give an answer to a question of interest to the child, he will find the answer in another source, which may be unreliable and even dangerous.
Pay attention to the behavior and mode of life of the child:
Adults experience difficult moments, realizing, thinking over and discussing what is happening. Children have other ways. It is easier for a preschooler to cope with what is happening by playing or drawing it. Therefore, stories that frighten a child can be found in a game or drawings. For younger students, it is important to study, master new knowledge, so often children of this age try to learn more about what excites, frightens or disturbs. Do not prohibit children from these activities and do not blame them. The best strategy is discussion and cooperation. And if the behavior of the child is alarming, consult a child psychologist for advice.
Organize your child's life by keeping the usual routine of the day as much as possible. The usual course of life, everyday affairs, the presence of a plan for the next day, week, month allow you to overcome the feeling of helplessness and anxiety, allow you to feel confident.
Do not neglect sports, communication, hobbies yourself and do not deprive this child. If something from the previous possibilities turned out to be unavailable, try to find a replacement. These activities allow you to replenish the resources and energy spent on experiences.
Seek professional help if necessary. You may need to consult a child psychologist if:
The child's behavior has changed dramatically, these changes are persistent - they last several weeks or longer.
The child has lost interest in things that were previously important to him: play, study, sports.
Significantly changed the nature of communication with others: he became withdrawn, stopped communicating with friends, refuses to go to school or kindergarten.
Symptoms such as stuttering, nightmares and difficulty falling asleep, intense fear appeared.
You feel the need for psychological help, even if there are no signs listed above.
We remind you that the Ministry of Education has organized a round-the-clock hotline for psychological assistance for children and parents based on the resource center of the Moscow State University of Psychology and Education. Help for children will be provided by phone: 8-495-624-60-01, adults - by the number 8-800-600-31-14.
Psychologist's advice: how to behave properly for parents of a stubborn baby
If the baby starts to refuse to follow your instructions, do not rush to grab the belt.
Everything in its own way, everything in defiance! "Seryozha, let's go for a walk!" - "No, I will not go!" "Come to dinner, I made pancakes!" - "But I don't like them!" Yes, how I don’t like it, if I used to tremble with impatience, smelling the smell from the kitchen; and walked in such a way that it was impossible to drag home by the ears! In general, why did it suddenly become like this: almost everything you say - “no”, “I don’t want”, “I won’t give” . ..
Yes, this is shocking, especially for young parents - their two-year-old has just started touching mom and dad with a meaningful speech, began to really communicate, and suddenly became a kind of hedgehog, which will not work again. It seems that the main thing for him now is to go against the grain.
And, you know, this is completely normal, your child develops correctly, naturally. It is by the age of two that the baby's brain begins to grow rapidly - the left hemisphere, which is responsible for analytical thinking, begins to manifest itself more actively, he begins to realize himself, control his speech, his "I" is formed. The kid seems to be on the shoulder.
At this age, children begin to need not only guardianship, but also recognition of their independence and the right to their own point of view and line of behavior, which, of course, seems ridiculous and absurd to an adult. Therefore, we continue to bend the former - to control their every movement and run up against the growing resistance and the demand for independence over and over again.
The child is carried away, absorbed in his new state, and due to his weak willpower, he, while hardly switching from one activity to another, may simply not understand the speech addressed to him. The child does not intentionally tyrannize you in his thoughts, he simply may not have enough attention to listen to you or the moral strength to obey. So, we can say that kids at this age are sometimes naughty not because they want to achieve a certain goal, they simply cannot cope with their stubbornness.
But what to do - physiology!
From stubbornness to care
Which, however, can develop into a character trait. After all, despite the inevitability of physiological processes, the features of stubbornness are manifested with particular force in children who are proud and at the same time active and energetic by nature. Such children in the "age of stubbornness" need special understanding and support. The main thing for you is not to trifle, to set priorities correctly.
Try to give your children as much freedom as possible during this time. If he is such an "adult" with you, so be it, he will put on mittens of different colors, if he really wants it so much - and he will see how the guys in the yard react to it. Do not bother him to put, removing toys, a book on the ball - it will fall to the floor without your instructions. It is worth intervening only when it comes to the safety of a child trying, say, in an adult way, to run down the stairs through two steps. I will say more: you can try to turn moments of stubbornness to the benefit of the baby.
A friend's daughter was suddenly tired of washing her hands before eating, no stories about germs helped. She made up her mind and stubbornly walked past the washstand straight to the table. And a friend managed to solve this problem just through the child's desire for independence. She asked the girl to wash her hands... to her mother. And Natasha did it with pleasure, washed her better than herself, and even helped dry her hands. It is clear that after such care for her parents, the girl no longer needed to call for hygiene once again. Along the way, it turned out that the desire for independence easily turns into the desire to take care of others.
And mine once got stubborn and didn't want to leave the street for no reason, despite the fact that she was obviously tired. And then I was lucky - a magnificent collie, obviously not from our district, walked past, along with her mistress. "Listen, - I said to Nastya. - Let's run home, tell dad who we saw!" My daughter rushed to the house with all her legs to share her impressions. When she grew up, the classic trick, called "Switching attention" in the literature, alas, ceased to work...
Childish stubbornness will overcome itself - if you use the same desire for independence, which lies at the basis of this quality.
Contrasting adult stubbornness with children's stubbornness is not only unpromising, but harmful and, in my opinion, dishonest. In no case should parents get involved in a fight with their children, because in every fight there are winners and losers. Kids, of course, will not defeat their parents, but for the latter ... Do you really like to feel cooler than a little one?
And do you have enough flexibility and imagination to switch the little person to something interesting for him, corresponding to the magical game world in which he lives? Do you know how to distinguish the shades of relationships, based on the temperament of the child (do you feel him, in general?), Or do you only need his submission? Assess your behavior towards the baby. Are you humiliating him?
And the strangest thing is that you compensate for these impulses of yours, perhaps feeling guilty for excessive strictness, excessive pampering, caressing your son or daughter. At these moments, you forgive them everything, remove all prohibitions. And after that, are you still surprised that he stubbornly, without pulling away from the shelf, demands some kind of toy from it? Your inconstancy is categorically incomprehensible to a child.