Guiding Children's behaviour - the what and how - part 1

children's behaviour
So often I am asked by parents about their child's behaviour and what they can do about specific situations. Unfortunately it is usually when the parent is at their wit's end and wants an easy fix.

There is no easy fix and in an ideal world we would sit down when we first have a little tiny baby and decide a few things - what do we value? what values do we want to help our children have? how can we share these with our children?
These are all very personal and individual things. Also we have the influence of the larger world - what grandparents or other relatives expect, what our friends expect and what our society expects.

I think one goal we would all have in common is that we want our children to take increasing responsibility for their own behaviour. So this is the what (or part of it.) So deciding "the what" takes time and consideration.

We also need to know how we are going to help them. We know that children are learning how to manage their feelings and control themselves and we know that learning takes practise.
When children are very young and we need to guide their behaviour we can easily:
1. divert their attention
2. offer  choices - "do you want this or this?"
3. redirect - "let's stop that and do this."
4. ignore certain behaviours that do not hurt others
But as they get older more strategies and consideration are needed to help teach them the skills of managing their emotions.  When we help children we also need some understanding of what to expect of each age and stage of childhood.  As you can see there is a lot for parents to think about and learn, so let's try and simplify this for now.

There are some things you are already doing with your children, whether babies or toddlers or older to help them guide their own behaviour.
  • you make them feel secure so they know you are available to help them when needed
  • you offer them activities that are interesting to them
  • you offer experiences that you think will interest them
  • you give them approval

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