All children tend to misbehave - it is a normal part of growing up. You probably had been a handful yourself as a child and so it’s no wonder that your child misbehaves sometimes. Discipline is an important and heavy subject to be taught to children and it has to be taught the right way. If any negative means are used (such as spanking or shouting), then it may have a negative impact on their own personality and behaviour.
This is why you must think before you react whenever they happen to misbehave. But this does not mean you should not correct them when they do something they shouldn’t have done. Here are a few tips on how to react and deal with children when they misbehave and how to teach them to take the high road:
1. State clear consequences for their actions
You can fix certain punishments for when they misbehave. For example, if they trouble or bully their friend, tell them that they are not allowed to play with any friends for a few days and that they should think about what they did for those few days. If they make a mess in the kitchen or spilt something on the floor/wall, they should help you clean it up.
2. Talk to them about it
When they do something wrong like be mean to a parent, a sibling, or a friend, you should have them sit down and have a talk. Ask how they would feel if the same was done to them. Then, ask them why they did what they did. Was it worth it? This will help them understand that other people have feelings too and that they should be responsible enough to think about that. You should try this out for even minor things like if they said “I hate you.” to a loved one. They may not have meant it or realised what the words mean which is why it is important for you to talk to them about it.
3. Distract them from their tantrums
Often, we find that kids make a scene in a public setting and we, as parents, feel like we have been put in a spot. The best way to come out of this situation is to distract them. If they have been sitting in one place for too long, give them an activity to keep them occupied. Tantrums can be avoided by making sure that they don’t get hungry, thirsty, tired or bored. When you notice them starting to get angry, you could talk to them and keep them calm by asking how they feel. For example, “Are you hungry? Well, I am hungry too. We’ll get some yummy food together soon.”
4. Praise them well, praise them often
It is easy to scold children when they do something wrong but we often forget to reward them when they do a good deed. So when your child does something right, you should acknowledge it and make it a point to praise them for it. This will go a long way in helping them understand that good behaviour is rewarded and that a bad attitude is not welcome anywhere.
5. Accept their mistakes
Kids do make mistakes and very soon you would find that they realise this too. Sometimes, when a child drops a glass of juice on the floor, they immediately burst into tears because they know that they will get into trouble for it. When this happens, it is important to proceed with caution. They have realised their mistakes, so there is no need to scold them. Just talk to them calmly, tell them you forgive them and that they can have another glass of juice after they help you clean up the mess. This is so that they know that cleaning up the mess isn’t a punishment - it’s a normal thing that has to be done.