Mothers know best and so they say. But mothers or parents need advice from time to time to support them in raising up their children. Hence, positive parenting tips are crucial in every child's development.
Be warned: even if you take this approach, your daughter is still going to test you. Below are six steps for dealing with three-year-olds when they simply won’t listen:
Let Go of Timeouts
Timeouts can work for some children (but there are far better techniques). Ultimately, the only person we can control is ourselves. If timeouts are not working (that is your child refuses to go to the “naughty bench”, stay on the “naughty bench”, or tells you they make their own rules and have moved the “naughty bench”), look for other ways to inspire them to want to be well-behaved (as suggested in the following five steps).
Fire Yourself as Boss of the Household!
Many parents buy into the belief that mom should be the boss of the household and be in control. Yet, we must remember that we are modeling for our children how to act every single minute of the day. Our kids learn more from what we do than from what we say. If they see us pulling rank as “boss”, they will attempt to be “boss” too. Unfortunately, when this happens, they may outrank us and the real power struggles will begin.
Try counting method 1-2-3 Magic.
Provide Flexibility with Boundaries
Instead of boss, see yourself as your child’s coach or guide, responsible for providing them with experiences to learn from and allowing them to experience the consequences of their actions. Give clear guidelines, but also give them flexibility too. For example, “Your toys need to be cleaned up before we go to Grandma’s. Do you want to clean them up now, or in 5 minutes from now?” If they still don’t clean up, then you might not go to Grandma’s that day. Children need to know what the rules are and, more importantly, they need to know you will follow-through with the rules. Once you become consistent with your behavior, your children will learn to trust what you say and will improve their behavior accordingly.
Stay Firm (but Kind)
If they fight, you follow-through. Do this without yelling, scolding or punishing. Don’t buy into their tears, and definitely don’t get into a debate. Stay firm, but stay kind. Tell them that when they want a hug, to come find you. I know keeping your cool is easier said than done. For more on this, check out the “Mom's Time Out” section (page 111-114) in the parenting book, When You’re About To Go Off The Deep End, Don’t Take Your Kids With You. Time out plans are also mentioned in the article How to Count your Child’s Naughtiness Down on 123 Essay by Emilia Forrester.
Use Parenting Consequences That Relate to Their Behavior
Punishment teaches our kids to feel bad, but rarely teaches them how to "do good". If you are encountering the same misbehaviors over and over again, your child is clearly not learning from their mistakes. To facilitate learning, make certain any consequences used are directly related to the misbehavior. For example, when your child is rough with the computer, computer time is over; when your child is splashing water out of the tub, bath time is over; or when your child is goofing off with their food, dinner is over. Again, do these quickly, but kindly.
Thank and Appreciate Your Child for What They Do
Children want to please and they want to know that their contributions make a difference. Remember to tell them so – and often.
Learning how to motivate our children to want to be well-behaved takes time and practice. Yet, taking the time now to learn these parenting tools can save you years of heartache and frustration. Use positive parenting tips, keep reading, keep practicing, and keep empowering that three-year-old of yours: then watch your child's behavior change for the better!