When children misbehave, you want to know how to stop the misbehavior quickly. Perhaps they are ignoring instructions, crying, begging to buy something, climbing on furniture, throwing things in anger, being aggressive with you or a sibling or something else that frustrates.
These strategies will help put a stop to these misbehaviors:
1. Keep It Friendly: Practice speaking in a low, calm voice even though you feel annoyed. Doing so will produce a willingness to cooperation.
2. Get Close: Stop what you’re doing, go to your child & stand very close to him/her. This tends to bring about a de-escalation in misbehavior. When this happens, you have an opportunity to praise your child.
3. Give Clues: For a child who is unlikely to comply, try giving a clue to help him/her figure out what to do. So if your child is jumping on the bed and there’s a rule in your house about not jumping on furniture, instead of saying, “How many times have I told you….,” say in a calm voice, “You know the rule about where you can jump.” When (s)he stop momentarily, praise with, “You’re remembering the rule, you probably wish we didn’t have it, but I’m glad you remembered it.”
4. Empathize: Show your child you know how frustrated (s)he feels: “You’ve got so much energy & you love jumping. You wish you could jump on the sofa. What’s our rule about jumping?” “Yes, you can jump on the trampoline, not on the furniture.”
5. Put It In The Positive: When your child misbehaves after trying these techniques, it’s your wording that becomes important, so, “talk quietly” is better than “stop shouting.”
A Mindful Approach...A better feeling is just a thought away!
Betsie Saltzberg, MEd PsyD
Psychologist & Mindfulness Practitioner