There is nothing more beautiful and pure than a well-behaved child. And there is nothing more heinous than a spoiled, tantrum-throwing, indignant child. You've seen them, the kids who whine constantly, speak disrespectfully, and refuse to listen. These aren't bad children. But they are often the product of parents who just can't (or won't) put in the work that it takes to raise a well-behaved child.
Good behavior isn't an accident. It takes attention and discipline on your part.
You love your children, but love isn't enough. If you let your children have free reign, you are not teaching them anything. You're not helping them reach their full potential or to learn to be productive members of society. Kids need boundaries and guidelines. They actually like them, even though they may protest.
The reality is…good discipline makes for a peaceful family. Everyone knows what’s expected. Everyone knows the consequences. Make your life easier later by setting and enforcing guidelines. Establish good habits now, so your children can grow into self-sustaining, well-adjusted adults.
What is Good Behavior?
Our job as parents is to set limits. We know how to act in society (well, most of us!), and it's our job to teach our children the same. Unfortunately, it's our kids' jobs to constantly test these limits!
First of all, make sure that your kids know what is good behavior and what is bad behavior. The easiest way to do this is to post a list of rules. A great place to start is at the dinner table. What are the rules for eating dinner in a well-mannered way? Post a list of rules near the table. Then, when your son reaches across the table to grab the ketchup, politely point out that he has broken Rule Number 3.
See our list of dinner manner rules that you can print out and post in your kitchen.
State the Rules for Each Outing and Event
Steal this technique that many effective teachers use. Before a large project or field trip, good teachers will state exactly what is required of each student, and the consequences of not fulfilling the requirements.
If embarking on a trip to the zoo, the teacher will clearly state the rules and results of not following the rules:
- Stay with the group
- Follow the rules of the zoo
- Listen to your chaperone
Anyone who does not follow the rules will be escorted to the bus where he or she will wait while the rest of us explore the zoo.
You can use the same technique on any trip to the grocery store. State your rules, whether it is staying in the cart or not whining for candy. State what the results will be if the child chooses to break the rules. If you set out what is required, and what will result from bad behavior, the child is more likely to follow the rules. This technique makes for much more peaceful outings.
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