In an ideal world, children who listen to an adult and respond immediately would be the norm.
But we know they don't, even though your child's listening skills are essential for responding and acting appropriately.
In an effort to improve their own parenting styles, in order to raise kids who behave well, many parents are increasingly joining parenting classes.
These can include how to get your children to listen to you without nagging or shouting at them, and when and how to effectively discipline your children.
Amy created the online parenting classes to empower parents - of toddlers to teenagers - with essential skills that will correct your child’s misbehaviour positively without nagging, reminding or yelling.
In a webinar where Amy hosted these classes, she told Parent24 that children behave in a certain way because they are looking for three needs: power, attention and emotional connection.
When these needs are not met, they will behave a certain way and, in most cases, they will use negative behaviour to get your attention.
Amy believes that children only continue with the behaviour that works for them, even if it is negative.
Power for children means feeling that they have a sense of belonging or independence. Children, just like adults, do not like to be told all the time what to do.
When they see that all you do is trying to control them by telling them what to do, they will act out to prove who is boss by doing the opposite of what you instructed them to do.
Then what do you do? Punish them?
Amy says NO. She believes that if parents try to follow the 5 R’s of consequences for kids from age two to 15 years, they might have a solution for their problems.
The 5 R’s of Consequences
Amy believes that when your children are misbehaving, you should deal with them when you are calm. Instead of shouting them, she encourages parents to deal with their children respectfully.
For example, when you child is drawing on the wall and you are angry about it, just instruct your child to go to their room and let them know that you will address their behavior later.
It is your call as a parent to come back later to address that behavior, as not addressing it may make your child disrespect you even further because they think you are not serious.
Amy believes that when the consequence is related to the misbehavior, children learn rather than blaming their parents of being unfair.
An example of a related consequence to behavior would be if you told your child to switch off their video game at the dinner table, it would be to say to your child: "if you do not switch off your phone at the dinner table when I asked you, you will lose your privileges of having internet access for the video games."
If your toddler, does not want to brush her teeth, you might say something like: "If you do not want to brush your teeth, you will not get sweets later."
The type of consequence you are giving your child must be reasonable.
For instance, if you are thinking of punishing your four-year-old after throwing their clothes on the floor, a reasonable consequence would be to tell them to pick the clothes up, not to go wash the dishes as punishment.
Whereas, for your 15-year-old if they are using their phone at the dinner table, it would be reasonable to take the phone away.
4. Revealed in advance
Amy believes that a consequence must be revealed in advance to avoid surprises. She believes that the key is to chat when everyone is in a happy place.
Amy suggests this example of revealing a consequence to your children: "I have noticed that you are on your phone very often lately. In the future, I expect you to switch off your phone during dinner. I am not going to remind you, it’s up to you to turn it off 5 minutes before."
Then add, "I am sure we will not have an issue with that, but if it happens you will lose your phone for five days."
Amy believes that starting with "I’ve noticed" helps everyone to get to a state of problem-solving rather than a defensive mode.
5. Repeat back the consequence
Amy believes that repeating back the rules and consequences helps the parent and a child to establish verbal agreement and this will help when the child break the rules as they will know the consequence that will follow.
Some common questions, answered:
What happens if you reveal the rules, but the child is not repeating back?
Amy said that it could be their age, or it could be showing you that you are having power struggles where your child is trying to show you who is boss.
What if I can’t think of a good consequence?
"This might mean that consequences are not the right thing to do at that time," Amy said.
She warned parents not to use consequences all the time, because that may result in more power struggles.
What if something happens out of the blue?
Amy responded that consequences are for repeated behavior, the first time something happens there should be no consequence.
"If you think it will continue, you can tell them what will happen in the future."
Amy believes that the home environment is about creating a safe space for your children. She advises parents not to punish their children again if they were punished at school.
Amy believes that asking them what they learnt from that encounter at school and asking how they felt at that encounter is key, but she forbids punishment in this case.
Share your experiences with us and let us know how if you have any questions on these discipline strategies.
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