Parenting will likely be the most gratifying experience you’ll ever have. But at times, this experience can become challenging. This is especially the case when you realize that certain behaviors need to be managed deliberately.
Here are some evidence-based parenting tips that might help you do that:
1. Praise your child’s good behavior
Whether positive or negative, we know that attention reinforces a child’s behavior that attracts attention. That is why it’s necessary to recognize Your Child’s good behaviors regularly. When you acknowledge good behavior, try to be as specific as possible and focus on the process rather than the outcome. So, instead of saying “good job”, say “I like the way you placed the little green book back onto the top shelf Your Child”. Like that, not only do children learn what we like and how to behave, but also expand on their language skills.
2. Ignore certain things
Just like praising good behaviors, research has shown that ignoring minor and harmless misbehaviors can be beneficial in reducing such behavior. This works because, first and foremost, Your Child seeks your attention and love. When children feel that they are not getting attention, they will express it by throwing tantrums. If you react to their tantrums, even if it is a negative response, children will realize that tantrums are efficient at getting attention and will reinforce it again. But that is not to say negligence is effective for long-term strategy. Parents should give their children the attention when they start to show it. Doing this early on, children are much less likely to seek it by acting out of line later.
3. If you need time alone to work, carve out the first few minutes for Your Child
If you need an hour for yourself, it’s better to invest the first 10 minutes of that hour into playing with Your Child. Once Your Child is content with playing solo, they will likely leave you alone for the remaining 50 minutes. On the other hand, if you start working right away, Your Child may get on your nerves and seek attention the entire time. Your choice!
4. Learn a few things about child development
Knowledge of child development will allow you to understand that many of the things you might write off as misbehaviors are, in fact, a strategy for Your Child to learn and develop. This knowledge may change your attitude, and you will be able to go through these difficult moments together instead of getting frustrated with the perceived misdeed. The three most relevant theories are: Erikson’s 8 Stages of Development, Piaget’s Theory of Development, The Attachment Theory
5. Be a role model
Children learn mostly by observing what other people around them are doing, especially their parents. Some say that young children learn 80% of what they do through modeling and body language and just 20% through spoken worlds. Whether that’s true or not, parents are a child’s most important role models. So, be careful with what you do or say to others. If you’re aggressive, your child will likely be aggressive. If you are kind and loving, your child will probably become kind and loving.
6. Make time for each child
Although it’s increasingly difficult to find enough quality time in today’s world, especially for a working parent, it is necessary that you make time to play with each child as much as possible. Children learn through these one-on-one interactions more than in any other way. This is where language skills form and working memory builds executive functions — executive functions are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. But even more importantly, you help Your Child develop a positive self-image and trust. And, if children trust their parents and themselves when they are young, they can develop trust in the world, others, and their own abilities later in life.
7. Take time for yourself
No matter how demanding your situation is, ensure you find time to take good care of yourself. This is important because children can be negatively affected by their parents’ stress. In other words, when you are happy, your child will be as well.
Ketsupa Jirakarn (Mental health specialist) (31 March 2021)