Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Tips To Inculcate Good Habits In Your Child

As Parents we all want our kids to develop into active, well organized, contributing individuals. But our expectations alone don’t suffice. It is our primary duty to inculcate good habits in our kids, while they are still young. This is easier said than done. Our children make us angry by their pranks, they make mistakes, they get lazy, and they indulge in silly and thoughtless activities. And what do we do? We adults react without thinking, we shout at them and often strike them; exhibiting the very behavior we’re trying to discourage. Being a doctor, I’m supposed to know how to handle people, but when it comes to controlling my exuberant little ones, even I lose control sometimes. But I always feel terrible about it later.
                We need to discipline our children and that too without losing temper. We need to exhibit our calm, adult dignity while handling the little brats, but how?  This question led me to research about successful parents, who have raised, happy, well adjusted children. I found a number of techniques suggested by behavioral scientists that are aimed at teaching appropriate behavior to young ones. I’ve already started implementing these, and would suggest you to do the same, if you want peace and harmony in your household.
                Remember these techniques require you to act as a role model, and that means gaining control over your temper first. So, next time you feel the steam rising, try these tips:
1.       Reorganize- Yes, reorganize your own work-schedule to decrease your stress levels. I realized that the days I was stressed due to hectic schedule or overwork were the days I had lost control of myself and hit my child for silly, harmless pranks. Re-organizing my day did wonders for me, I found more time for myself and for my family, strengthening my bond with my kids (Hmm-mm I should have talked about time-management first, but now that I have done so much of this darn typing, I won’t change the topic for this post..^_-).
2.      Make simple changes in the Environment- Many behavioral problems don’t require shouting matches or discussions, making simple changes will solve the problem immediately. For e.g. a neighbor of mine reprimands her 2 year old daily whenever he reaches for the DVD player, yet putting it on a tall cabinet or shelf will solve the problem immediately. In my house all my medicines (that I keep for dispensing), my medical books, stethoscope et al are kept in a locked cabinet, so that my 3 year old cannot reach them. Similarly, “Keep away from that door!” may be avoided by adding an inexpensive hook-lock; “Don’t watch television while having dinner!” (Why not switch off the television at dinnertime?); “How many times have I told you not to have sweets before dinner!” (Why not hide the snacks?). Get the picture? Make a note every time you catch yourself reprimanding your child. Later, contemplate whether you can resolve recurring problems with simple changes in the environment.
3.      Let your child take charge- Now this step comes under “Self-Management” tricks taught to management trainees. Use them on your child. Perhaps your son forgets to arrange his school-bag for next day and frequent reminders only result in arguments. Instead of reminding your child to pack his bag, teach him that he can remind himself of what he’s supposed to do by writing his own notes. Tell him you are teaching him “Organizational Skills”. Teach him to keep a tab on his progress as well. Most children feel great to see the progress they are making, they feel in charge!
4.       Rehearse- This and the next two tips are suggested by Robert Epstein, an eminent child psychologist. Help your child deal with difficult situations by rehearsing with them. For e.g. try role-playing situations with them. For instance, if your child is having problem dealing with a teacher at school, you may play the role of your child and let him enact the role of his teacher and try acting out different situations. He’ll learn how to handle a situation differently, and you’ll be reminded that it’s not easy being a kid!
5.      Reprimand if needed but gently- Psychologists use a technique called “Manual Guidance” to assist changes in behavior. Take this example, if your daughter is taking too long to comb her hair when you are in a rush, instead of yelling at her, gently hold her by shoulders and tell her lovingly that you’re getting late and she can finish combing in the car, then gently guide her away from the mirror. Remember, gentleness is the key here.
6.      Use Proper Signals- This technique is technically known as “Discrimination Training”. For instance you don’t want children bursting into your bedroom or changing room every time, sometimes it’s okay if they barge in but at other times it may be the worst thing in the world. Use proper signs in such cases. You may use a poster at your bedroom door, tell them it’s okay if the poster shows a big green “GO”, but if the poster shows a big red “STOP”, then they must knock before entering.
7.       Strike a Deal- This one’s the favorite of my son. We strike a “deal” before his exams. I pay him a certain amount if he scores well, for each subject. Obviously this acts as a motivational factor for him to study harder to earn more, much more effective than giving frequent reminders which he desists. Here’s another one, we make a “contract”; on a piece of paper we jot down the chore which he is supposed to do, like, resetting his wardrobe or book shelf, and what I am supposed to do in return, like, he can watch his favorite cartoon show for extra 2 hours on weekend/ promise to take him to the mall on weekend; then the “contract” is duly signed by both of us and stuck on the refrigerator door. Always set a time limit on such contracts though. You can always renew the contract and work it out your way.
8.       Be a Role-Model- This is the most powerful of all the techniques. Your children learn a lot by watching you. Your kids will imitate you sooner or later, if you shout to get your way, your children will do the same. If you watch sitcoms instead of doing your household chores, your child is likely to put off his school assignment to watch his favorite cartoon show. So, set a positive example. Read, if you want your child to imbibe a reading habit. If you want your children to apologize to you, then apologize to them whenever you make a mistake.
9.       Don’t Respond to Tantrums and Irrational Behavior- Remember, whenever your child shows temper tantrums, such as, foot stomping and rolling on floor, never respond. Just ignore them, look away, and avoid looking at them. If you are at a public place, just ignore while keeping an eye on him lest he runs away or gets hurt. But, don’t yell or speak to your kid at that time because it will only worsen the problem. This is the only way to make your child understand that he cannot have his demands fulfilled by resorting to irrational behavior. Once your kid calms down talk to him firmly yet using a gentle tone and explain to him why his demand cannot be fulfilled. Try this for 2-3 times before you see any results. This is the therapy given to treat temper tantrums in children and toddlers, and is proven to be highly effective.
10. Teach Deep Breathing Exercises- Teach deep breathing to your child. Diaphragmatic breathing helps your child calm down.Place one hand on chest and the other on abdomen both hands should move in and out when breathing. It has a rapid calming effect. If only the upper hand moves while breathing then it is a sign of stress.
               In the end take a few deep breaths yourself; you must control your anger first. You might forget every sensible thing you know about parenting when you’re angry.
       For very fussy children who are calmed down only by carrying them, Chamomilla is a very good Homoeopathic medicine. Chamomilla 30 / 4 pills , 4 times a day for a week, should be given to treat such children. For children who are cross and whining all the time, and do not calm down even by carrying them, Cina 30 ,4 pills/ 4 times a day is the medicine of choice.

            That's all for this post, will discuss tips to fight winter blues and Homoeopathic remedies for the same in my next post. Thanks for visiting my blog, I appreciate your comments and valuable feedback to my posts. You can now register your quick feedback by clicking on any of the reactions given at the end of this post. Your feedback and comments make my effort worthwhile. If you find this Blog informative and helpful then please help spreading word about this blog through networking sites. You may also recommend it to Google users by clicking on the +1 button given below. Do visit again and learn to choose well and have a smart living!!                                                                                                                 

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