Last night, I listened in on a webinar on how to stop nagging my toddler. Because… I have a toddler.
What is going on? Why are they acting out? And what are the top tips to get your child to behave?
- They must receive attention daily. Their bucket will never be full of your special, one on one, undivided attention. Then they will not act out for attention. For instance, when your toddler or child begs for a cookie, you say no and then they start whining. Don’t give in. If you do, your child will use the same behavior again to get what they want. They will learn that acting negatively works for your attention.
- They must have a sense of power, also daily. For kids, they don’t feel like they have control. We call all the shots and tell them what to do all day long. When a person of any age feels out of control or powerless, they will do what they have to do, including acting out. A toddler tantrum or a teenage tantrum gives them feelings of power. When they get under our skin, it’s a big power rush for them. They will use this same behavior again.
- Meal time, bed time and potty time are the big power times for younger children. No matter what you do – begging and pleading – you can’t make them eat, sleep or go to the bathroom. When they say no and scream, they are saying, “I’m going to show you who’s boss.”
- Older kids start back-talking. Or battle over homework and chores. This is the time for them to prove they have their own power.
- Even an 18-month old has his or her right to use their voice, for they have free will. It’s their choice, in the end, to behave or not. Therefore, we need to use strategies to move around their need for power.
Once a child knows that they are an independent being, they realize that they don’t have to stay in time out.
The R’s in peaceful negotiation with your child:
- Be Respectful. If you cannot deal with a tantrum or act out in a calm and respectful way. Take a deep breath, calm down. Make sure you are calm. Approach them with calmness and not angry or an upset voice.
- Related Consequence. The consequence must be related to the misbehavior. The “Related” consequence for not brushing your teeth, is you don’t get sweets or chips. You can’t force them to brush their teeth, but say, “Sweetie it is up to you. You know the rule. No sweets if you don’t brush teeth.” You then put the control in the child’s hands. For older kids, if you miss curfew, then you don’t go out with friends next weekend.
- Reasonable Duration. You are trying to make them learn. A four-year old throws a puzzle around, take away puzzle for rest of day. For a teen, their punishment could be a week to lose a phone for misbehaving.
- Revealed in Advance. When she or he knows what you expect and the consequence, they have that power we discussed.
- Repeated Back. Please “Repeat” back to me the new rule and the new consequence. For younger kids, use shorter words and sentences.
These tips were taken from a webinar by nationally recognized parenting expert Amy McCready is the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the best selling author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic – A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World and If I Have to Tell You One More Time… The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. As a “recovering yeller” and a Certified Positive Discipline Instructor, Amy is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids.