Top Five Tips To Help Avoid Battles And Establish Healthy Boundaries
Think about these tips and note the change in behaviour of your children.
1. Plan ahead and talk to your child - By having a clear plan that your child can become familiar with, will allow you a good rationale when required
2. It can be good to know that spirited children usually learn through experience - They won’t just take your word for it! This can be challenging too as they will need to push boundaries and may need to learn the hard lesson for themselves before they are ready to accept the fact.
3. Give choice not punishment - By shouting the odds at your child, you are simply teaching them that in order to get what you want in life you have to shout and battle.
You want your child to realise that there are better ways of getting what you want. Choice is a great tool for teaching rationale behaviour when you need to find compromise.
By offering your child choice, you will empower him to make decisions and to think about the choice before he makes it.
He will be genuinely invested in what is going on if he has a part to play and feels in control as he does so.
4. Grow a leader - your child wants to show you that they are capable. They want to please you and they crave your positive praise and attention. Facilitate this by letting your child take charge of as many things as she is capable of doing at her age. For example, turn a battle of wills into a challenge that your child can achieve. If your child does not want to go up for bath time, warn him early on that bath time is coming and perhaps when five minutes is up, he would like to help you turn the taps on and add the bubble bath to the water. This allows him some control of the task while you get him to do whatever it is that you need done.
5. Teach your child respect - for herself and for others. You can do so by listening to your child, actively and teaching your child to do the same. By offering your child your respect, they feel valued and they know that you care for them deeply. This in turn will encourage their respect for themselves and others.
These are just some of the ways you can help your child to exhibit the behaviour you need while not compromising who they are at the same time. It is not about you being right or in charge, it is about finding a harmonious way for you to parent and for your child to respond in a way that works for everyone. If your child knows what your expectations are and that you’re proud of them and full of praise when they do as they’re asked then they will be all the more keen to continue on that path. If they feel as though they are constantly being chastised or overpowered, forced to do as they’re told regardless of their feelings, you will have a battle on your hands for the foreseeable future.
When your child feels listened to and respected, they will mimic the same. Your child will look to you as a trusted caregiver when they need you rather than being unsure of how you will react. If you approach situations calmly, your child will begin to do the same. If you feel your child is opposing you, try to understand why. Ask your child why he feels he doesn’t want to do something, show him you’re really listening and discuss what choices there are to resolve how he sees things.
Your child’s reason for feeling a certain way is very real to her. While we have the benefit of a life-time of experience to draw on or rational views on things, your child is still learning. They are looking to you for justification and understanding. If they don’t feel listened to, supported and understood, who will make them feel this way so that they can go confidently with these skills into their adult lives?
Support your child in their right to make choices. You can explain to your child that they have the choice and the power is in their hands. If your child does not want to wear a hat and gloves out into the icy weather then explain why you are going to wear yours and that they have the choice not to put their own on. You can offer to put them in the bag so that once they realise that it is cold, they can put them on and keep warm. This will allow your child to learn from experience. The choice was offered, put them on or take them along to put on later. If they get cold, they have learnt a lesson and next time, may decide to put them on before leaving.
Children learn best through experience, regardless of whether they are spirited or not. Your child will look to you for guidance so demonstrate through your own behaviour and responses so that they have a reference for their own behaviour.