Teach Your Kids These Two Traits To Be Successful In LifeTeach our children are respect and virtue. Treat each person has a right to be treated courteously and kindness.
Children are very vulnerable to ridicule, harsh criticism, anger and yelling. Children deserve to grow up in a warm, safe and accepting environment.
There are two different extremes in parenting techniques. The first is complete license or permissiveness, allowing the child to do whatever they want, whenever they want. The second is total oppression. The child is allowed to do nothing without the parents allowing it or controlling it in a mean, cold and unloving way. Both of these approaches are wrong and damaging.
Most parents fall somewhere in between these two extremes and let this be clear that none of us are perfect parents. That being said, we must constantly strive to improve our parenting and teaching skills for the sake of these little ones that we dearly love.
The two most important things we can teach our children are respect and virtue. By respect we mean that each person has a right to be treated courteously and with kindness. By virtue we mean the lifelong habit of being good and doing what is right.
The best and really only way we can teach respect and virtue is by being respectful and having virtuous habits. We cannot have a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude. We must have control of situations without nagging or yelling or going on and on about “how junior messed up.”
The Do NOT’s
Do NOT give empty threats or promises.
This is one of the biggest mistakes. Threats or promises that are not followed up on are the worst way to get children to obey you. If you make a threat or a promise you must follow through each and every time, 100% of the time, all the time, every day of the year, every minute of the day, all the days of your life. Since this is the first rule be sure to limit your threats and promises. If what the child is doing is not harmful or disrespectful let it go.
Do NOT delay rewards or punishments.
The second biggest mistake is putting off rewards or punishments. You can not expect a 4 year old to remember that if they throw their food then we can not go to Grandma’s tomorrow. Young children can only understand the NOW. If the bad or good behavior is done then the reward or punishment should be given in less than 30 seconds. The younger the child the quicker the reward or punishment should happen. The punishment for the very young child can usually be removing them from the situation or area that they are in and taking what they may have in their hands.
You will need to discover what “gets to” or motivates your child. What do they like or dislike. This will be your tool for the job of rewarding and punishing. If your child likes a certain toy then they can lose that toy for a period of time. If they like Superman get some Superman stickers for when they do good. Whatever they like or dislike will be what you use.
If the child has understood the expected behavior and defiantly disregards your request, immediately give the punishment. Likewise if the child has performed well, give the reward immediately. Be sure to explain why the child is getting the punishment or reward. If possible, always have the child repeat back to you what you said.
It will go better for you if you provide more rewards than punishments so look for different ways to praise or reward your child, just be sure to do it immediately.
Do NOT simply tell the child to “Be Good.”
Be specific with your directions. Tell the child what you expect in a situation that is about to happen. “We are going into the store now. If you run in the store you will have to ride in the cart.” It is OK to leave your full cart in the store for a while to go to the car if the child is screaming. Children need to understand that you are willing to go to any extreme to win the battle, even if it causes you some embarrassment.
Explain the rules upfront and make sure the child understands what you expect. Be specific but keep what you are saying very simple. Do not simply tell the child to be good. List behaviors out like “running, yelling, hitting, saying yes sir/ma’am.”
If the child is old enough have them repeat what you told them then you can be sure they heard and understood you. Once you are sure the child understands what is expected of them give the consequences. These can be good or bad consequences. “If you walk by me in the store and do not yell or run then you can have a piece of candy.”
Do Not chit chat or go on and on about a bad situation. State your case, making sure the child understands then move on. Often it helps to ask the child to repeat what is expected of them or why they are in trouble. Keep your directions simple and short.
Do Not Yell
Do Not Spank in Anger
Do Not try and reason with young children. They are unreasonable. They understand consequences.
Do Not give too many rules to follow.
Do Not tolerate or allow any amount of back talk.
Do Not act or do things that you do not want your children to do.
Do Not count … 1, 2, 3 or say “I’m going to count to 3.”
Do NOT let children watch most of what passes for children’s entertainment in the forms of movies, TV shows and video games. Movies, TV programming and video games train young brains to get used to quickly changing images in 2-5 second segments which decreases the ability to maintain focus on activities such as school work and reading. Violence and sexually explicit or suggestive content in movies, TV and games can do serious damage for a lifetime and must not be tolerated not even a little bit.
Do give praise and rewards when appropriate.
Do learn from other parents. If you see a well behaved child watch how the parents deal with difficult situations or ask them for some advice.
Do give your child responsibilities and chores as they can handle them.
Do give children a choice as much as possible. Everyone responds well to a choice in activities or tools. Offer only a few choices in activities, tools or toys.
Do significantly limit TV and video games. Less than 1 hour per day. No violence, sex or rudeness. Children cannot watch adult TV and movies and not be affected for the worse.
Do read good books about character development and correct thinking. Check out The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz and check out the Book section on our learning resource page.