Behavior management is crucial to positive and effective parenting. To manage behavior effectively, parents should start out by adhering to a few simple guidelines:
- Maintain composure while parenting – especially while disciplining.
Losing one’s ability to remain cool means that there are now two people in need of intervention.
- Know when to act and when to ignore specific behaviors.
Rule of thumb: If it is dangerous, illegal, or immoral, then act. If it is simply annoying or disruptive – ignore. Ultimately, it is up to the parent to decide how (or if) to respond.
- Provide structure and consistency.
Without these two elements in place, children will feel anxious and uncertain. This may also make them want to “test the waters.”
- Set firm boundaries and clear expectations.
Behavior management is next to impossible without these two factors in place.
- Make sure consequences are administered swiftly.
The quicker the consequence, the bigger the impact on the child receiving it.
- Use behavior management to teach, not to control.
Behavior management is not about exerting power and control over a child – it is about redirecting and teaching.
Sure, behavior management is not always as easy as this list might lead you to believe – but these six pieces of advice are a good place to start.
Parenting can be a daunting task. It is often a challenging, exhausting, and thankless job. It is important to remember, however, that it is perhaps the most important role you will ever have. The ability to manage behavior in a firm, calculated manner takes confidence, insight, and know-how. Parenting is a game of trial and error. Some behavior management techniques may work well with some children – but not with others. Keep trying – don’t get discouraged!
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Ready to up your parenting game?