When trying to determine what makes our children misbehave, it is sometimes difficult as parents to realise that we may be contributing to their behavioral modification problem ourselves. If the way we discipline our children includes shouting and yelling at them, or dismissing their concerns out of hand, we may be encouraging our children’s poor behavior.
A child will find it very difficult to trust a parent who is constantly shouting at them or calling them names. If this form of discipline or punishment is used regularly it will lose its impact and become ineffective. When dealing with this behavioral modification problem, parents should always ensure that when shouting is required, it is only used in extreme circumstances, and that the words used address the bad behavior itself and not the child personally.
A further behavioral modification problem caused by shouting at children is that of imitation. Research has shown that children are quick to copy an adult role model and to imitate their behavior. If a parent is aggressive towards their child and shouts frequently, then the child will accept this as normal behavior and display the same tendencies towards others. This behavior can also be imitated from other adults our children are exposed to throughout their development.
A further behavioral modification problem that can occur if a child is generally neglected emotionally is that they will learn to provoke shouting and arguing as a means of gaining attention. When the only form of interest we take in our children is to shout at them for misbehaving, they will continue their bad behavior purely to get noticed and gain our attention.
To address this behavioral modification problem, we need to combine reason with discipline in order to make our children understand why their behavior is wrong and not simply punish them for it. Maintaining calm on both sides will reduce the possibility of the child becoming defensive and increase their understanding of why we consider their actions to be wrong. Although the underlying cause of a child’s misbehavior will not always be the fault of the parent, shouting and arguing is likely to make the situation worse instead of resolving it.