It has been debated for years – Do parents need to support behavior choices of their children or implement a form of control over the choices of their children? Technically, it all comes down to the wishes of the parent, but what seems to work best with the child is behavior support rather than control. Does this mean that your child should get away with everything, and you only explain your disappointment in their decision? No, this only means that you do not stand over them to make their decision for them.
True behavior support comes when you realize that your role is to step back, let your child make their decisions, then support them with either positive or negative feedback. You ultimate reason for being there is to provide them with guidance rather than make them dependant on you. Contrary to the belief of most parents, your child will better understand when you are disappointed if you take the softer approach in letting them know. Something to think about – How is your child to feel that you are unhappy with their decision if they do not know what it feels like when you are proud of their decision?
By offering your child behavior support, you are letting them know what you expect, and giving them a reason to meet those expectations. Here are some pointers to get you started on giving your child or teen the behavior support needed to encourage positive growth.
- Separate discipline from family. Never carry on discipline when time has called for a family event. If your child is grounded from TV, but the entire family watches a prime time show at 7pm, allow them to still participate as part of the family. You must remember that you are there to punish them, and love them therefore can not hold grudges in the time where love is called for. With young children, it is okay to make them sit in the corner for 5 minutes, and then let them out with a hug and a kiss to let them know that you still love them, even when you’re angry.
- Discipline can be positive. Finding a positive approach to discipline is the best form of behavior support for your child. Rather than yelling or scolding harshly, try sitting them down in a calm and quiet setting to discuss their decision. You may actually find that their reason for the behavior makes sense for someone young, and immature. You can still ground them, or take away privileges, but you are doing it in an effective manner because you have discussed what they did was wrong, and told them why. You could also try giving them an alternative to their wrong behavior so that they have that idea for future reference.
These are only two tips to get you started on a more encouraging way to support behavior of your child. The truth is most parents have all the right ideas in their head, the hard part as getting them to work. Always remember that your family may need to do things different, and that is okay. Your idea of behavior support and the neighbor’s idea of behavior support could be completely opposite, so decide what works best for you and stick with that.