Want More Appropriate behavior?

Want More Appropriate behavior

Want More Appropriate behavior?

No surprise here, especially for those of us who’ve been hanging the parenthood for a while, but children aren’t born knowing how, why, or when to behave well. They aren’t born knowing how to take turns, not to color on the walls, or how to control their big emotions when you won’t buy them a new toy at the store. We’ve all been there- about to say no to the candy they tried to sneak into the cart during checkout and potentially moments from a meltdown. As parents, we do the hard stuff (and say No), because it’s our job to teach our kids impulse control and the behaviors they will need to be more successful and happier in life.

Teaching young children appropriate behaviors is hard work and takes time.

There is no magical, easy, or perfect approach to teaching children to make better choices or to encourage new behaviors. There’s no one-size-fits all approach either, because children are different and parents are different too. What works for one family might not work for another. So to help you out, let’s dive into five basic reminders all parents should consider for constructively teaching new behaviors:

  1. 1. Love. Your children need to feel your unconditional love every day. Kids need to know they are loved for who they are, not just when they are being good. Make time every day to give your kids your positive attention. When we work at building loving relationships with our kids where bonds are built on trust and mutual respect, behavior changes. 
  2. 2. Be mindful of your own emotions.Adding your own emotions to your children’s intense emotions is never constructive. When you find yourself getting upset it’s   time to slow down, take a deep breath and think of the bigger picture. Decreasing your stress and keeping calm allows you to intervene with your child and their behavior in a way that doesn’t make things worse.
  3. 3. The reasons behind a child’s behavior matter.Behavior happens for a reason. It’s not random. Behavior is purposeful, and children use their behavior to communicate. When you pay attention to what your child might be needing in the present moment you are on your way to understanding the motivation for your child’s behavior. When  you recognize the particular source of a behavior you can then accurately teach your child more positive and effective ways to get their needs met. When you know the behavior’s source you can also be more thoughtful and kind in your parenting response.  
  4. 4. Find the proper parenting tools.You can’t approach every misbehavior in the same way (that’d be too easy, right?). It’s essential to have a variety of parenting tools at your disposal to effectively address the multitude of behavior challenges that arise in childhood. These tools should be focused on positive discipline rather than relying on punishment to change behavior. Not enough tools in your toolbox? It may be helpful to take a parenting class or meet with a parenting professional to learn more strategies that are helpful, effective, and suited to your specific parenting needs.
  5. 5. Give extra support and extra practice.Learning new behaviors takes time. Mistakes are going to happen along the way. As parent’s it requires us to be consistent and patient. Children should know the exact behavior that is expected of them and they should know the rules and the limits. When children struggle to learn from the process we have in place we need to take extra time to clarify the process and to be willing to keep teaching. 

As you discipline misbehavior keep in mind your child’s need for a sense of love and belonging in your family unit. Always keep in mind the first and most important reminder, Love.

Behavior is learned over our lifetime and shaped by the environment in which we grow up in. Parents aren’t always perfect and neither are children. Don’t hold your children to adult standards. Have realistic expectations for yourself and your kids. Behavior changes come with time and effort, and making changes requires lots of practice for all involved. Remember, no one ever prepared to run a marathon in a day- It’s tough, for sure on some days more than others, but when it comes to teaching our littles, a little patience goes a long way.

Changing patterns of behavior is hard and it can be confusing and challenging to try new things. It’s also easy to give up when something new doesn’t work out and then to come up with plenty of excuses about why it doesn’t work.

I need you to know support is always available. If you relate to any of this information and want to learn more about how I can help you, or if you want to schedule a free phone conversation to see if my coaching is right for your family, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Your child’s potential is limitless. Their success begins with you.

Your parenting counts!

Heart of Connecting

My work is dedicated to supporting parents and early childhood educators in understanding and reducing challenging behavior in young children at home and in the preschool classroom.

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