January 27, 2020

Eliminating bad behavior

serious girl

Whether your child is five or fifteen there are going to be times, in some cases numerous times, when they exhibit bad behavior. You may not always be there for it, and so it is important as a parent that you learn some tactics for how to help eliminate these bad behaviors. We are all human, and you won’t be able to get rid of poor behavior all together, but you can certainly decrease it and the likelihood of it getting worse. The following are some ways to do so:

Clear rules.

If you want to eliminate bad behavior you have to have some guidelines for your children so that they know what your definition of bad behavior is. This means come up with some clear and concise rules. For the best effects it is wise to have your child help you create this set of rules so that they take greater responsibility for them. This means sit down with your toddler, tween, or teen, and discuss your expectations of them, and have them help you compile a list of short rules. For example: Homework must be done before play. Go to bed on time. No fighting. No swearing. No smoking.

These are just some simple examples, but it is important to realize that difficult rules, or rules that are complicated do not render results. Simple and to the point is the way to go when it comes to setting rules to govern behavior.

Clear consequences.

Along with a clear set of rules, there needs to be a clear set of consequences. For example, if the rule is: Curfew is at 10. Then the consequence for breaking that rule, or curfew could be: For each minute you are late, you have to be home an hour earlier the next night. Once again, the idea is clear. There is no room for misunderstanding or excuses if you have set rules and set consequences attached to those rules. This tactic is going to help improve behavior in toddlers through teens because they can weigh their options and make informed decisions about whether or not poor behavior is worth the consequence they will pay. In most cases you will see that if there is a clear rule with a clear consequence, the rule will be more or less followed.

Follow through.

If you want your children to behave according to the rules you set for them, you have to follow through. This means do not threaten something you will not do. Do not tell your teen they will lose car privileges if they back talk, if you intend to let them continue driving the car. It will teach your children nothing if you do not follow through with threats, and the consequences posted. You can allow children to earn back things you have taken, such as privileges, but if you just give them back, or never take them away in the first place, then you will not get results. Your child will learn quickly that you won’t do anything, and their behavior will worsen rather than improve.

Creating the right environment. child in time-out

If you know that when your child does not get enough sleep, eats too much sugar, or hangs out with a certain set of friends their behavior starts to suffer, you can do something about it. Every parent knows that there are things that set off, or facilitate bad behavior from their children. In a toddler it might be something like a missed nap leads to crankiness and acting out. For an elementary school aged child is might be when they hang out with a certain friend. For a teen it might be when they stayed out too late the night before. If you want to eliminate bad behavior from your children, regardless of the age, watch for the things that trigger such behavior and start by eliminating those. Make sure your child gets a nap, restrict or limit when they can hang out with those friends, and set curfews, etc. to help them get enough rest. This will help you create the right environment so that bad behavior is less likely to occur.