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Managing children's behaviour

I’d like to take you back to when your child was first born – do you remember those feelings of wonderment and awe? – That you could have produced such a beautiful baby?

So what happened to those feelings when your child – older now - is screaming at you for being unfair and he/she isn’t behaving in a way that you feel is acceptable.

Well rest assured it happens to all of us.

Someone put a myth out that as parents we were supposed to know what we are doing instinctively. Wrong! –  no-one teaches us what to do with a child of any age when they refuse to do what we want. We know that we should stick to what we say but sometimes the consequence of doing that can be extreme.

So let’s look at communication. We see bad examples of communication in the ‘soaps’ – where people are always screaming at each other. We all know that getting angry and screaming and yelling doesn’t work. Ok I hear you say that sometimes it can. Well I doubt that. It might in the short term but I can assure you that the more you scream and shout at your child the greater the damage you are doing to your relationship.

So here you are – furious with whatever they have done.

What are you going to do?

Step 1 is to NEVER deal with your child when you have lost it. Go and make yourself a cup of tea – nip out for a pint of milk (that’s if they are old enough) – but please give yourself time to calm down. It also allows your child time to calm down too.

Then there is a simple formula – but as with everything you need to practise it.

Normally when we are angry we start the conversation with – “You ……..”
We’ve already judged the situation, so instead start the conversation with
“I feel………. When you………..”

Now the first part is the hardest and to make it even harder I am banning the word angry. We hear today how everyone is angry and how we need anger management courses, however the last feeling you have is anger, the first feeling is always something else. So re-wind and think about what you first felt. Was it hurt, disappointment, frustration, annoyance?

So get better at looking at how you felt, then tell your child,
“I feel/felt…………… when you……………….”
This is where you state the facts of what happened. No woolliness, be exact. Then you need to explain why you felt that feeling so the next part is “because…………… “
Then and only then, you say “I would like you to…………………..”

So how’s this for an example
‘I feel disappointed when you don’t do your home work, because I know that you have great potential and I would like you to do your best’
Of course it doesn’t have to be negative, you could be saying this for a positive feeling.
‘I felt really proud of you when you gave up your seat on the bus because it showed me that you care about other people’ This will build your child’s self esteem and confidence.

You can use this for all sorts of situations, and not just with your children - try it out. After all what have you got to lose?

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