How can we guide our children towards socially appropriate behaviour? When will they understand the need for guidelines and boundaries? Instead of ‘blaming’ children for their behaviour, it’s time we use conflict resolution strategies to support children to see different perspectives and develop skills in interacting positively with others!
7 useful parenting tips:
- Develop clear guidelines together: Being involved in establishing a set of rules and guidelines supports children in being accountable for maintaining them. It makes sense to them to follow their own rules! They also accept responsibility for ensuring others respect the guidelines they have developed together. Children are very capable of understanding a system of guidelines.
- Talk to your children. When there is a conflict between children, do not jump into conclusions. It is important to give children opportunities to explain their perspectives and to listen to the perspectives of others. Encourage them to use verbal and negotiation skills, rather than physical actions.
- Work with teachers. Parents and teachers should work together to reinforce positive behaviour in both school and home, so that there is a consistency of communication and approach.
- Change the task. Try redirecting children to another task to avoid a potential conflict; this redirection must be explained to the child e.g. there is too much arguing with so many people in this very small space ... what do you think we should do so that everyone can play comfortably?
- Reflect on expectations. Sometimes we need to reflect if the situation is caused by our own unrealistic expectations of our children e.g. children might find it too challenging to sit passively for a very long period of time throughout a formal dinner setting.
- Model positive behaviour. Children observe and emulate the attitudes and behaviours of the significant people in their lives. We need to model the actions, speech and behaviour that we wish our children adopt.
- Acknowledge positive behaviour and effort towards desired behaviour. When our children try to make positive changes to their behaviour, these attempts should be noticed and encouraged.