We have all been a little guilty of promising a child something in return for their cooperation. Mainly, we tend to think it is a harmless little trade off that gets the job done immediately. The problem is, that it is not harmless at all. In fact, it can be one of the worst things you can do to your relationship with your children. It can do some pretty serious damage to the dynamic of that relationship. Child punishment is not easy for any parent, no one wants to be the ‘bad guy’ but it is necessary in order to provide principles to the growing mind of your child.
Like most quick fix scenarios, the bite comes later and the regret is strong. Giving goods in place of child punishment might get cooperation at the moment, but the underlying issue stays unresolved. It really is not worth it, after the fact. Whenever the situation is immediate and your need is strong, then so is the temptation to offer candy to coerce and get them to mind you. Proper child punishment and sticking to your guns will be the best way to handle problems with your kids in the long run. No matter what the age, this is true.
Bribing your children to behave will ultimately teach them to expect something in return for basic good behavior. Also, what I feel is most important here, is that they learn nothing. It is important that parents focus on this fact because not all misbehavior is simple tantrum tactics. Children usually have obscure,(so they think) reasons for acting out. Sometimes, it can be that the reason will fit into a much bigger issue. An issue that you might be able to resolve much earlier and without child punishment or bribery. Trying to pin-point the true issue at hand is nowhere near as easy when bribing them fixes the immediate problem.
Proper child punishment reveals some very important things, things that making deals do not. Like the depth of determination the child has with not wanting to comply. There is always a reason behind the reason of the misbehavior. Sometimes, it can be that the child is not even aware of it and if you can become aware of it yourself, you may be able to eliminate the issue before it grows into something more prevalent or permanent. Prevention is not just for making your life easier but also to help the child in their life.
If you’re worried that these techniques will be punitive or that you will have to become a harsh disciplinarian, like your parents were, then put your fears aside. These techniques are about setting limits firmly and lovingly and even with some humor. This is about getting your kid to respect you because he starts to trust in you and sees that you are giving him the tools to create a better life. It’s about being smart and effective, rather than being harsh. Although kids may respect a mean parent out of fear, their ability to love that parent is forever tainted by their fear.
This is why an understanding of behavioral change techniques is important knowledge for every parent. Obviously, it’s not your fault that you aren’t familiar with these techniques which are usually taught to graduate students who are studying to be therapists, social workers, psychologists and the like. You do not have to be a graduate student to understand motivation or how to use some simple skills which can make marked changes in your child’s behavior and finally, your kids attitude. So there’s your answer: while behavior can be changed through an understanding of simple behavior modification techniques, child attitude can only be changed indirectly.
No comments yet.