As parents of young children, life can be pretty hectic. We often have to divide our attention between our job, our partner, our home and a myriad of other commitments besides our children. We've all been guilty of taking our tiredness or frustration out on our kids; even in small ways like impatience, scolding and even ignoring. We’re only human and while we try to be fair and balanced in our parenting, no-one expects us to be perfect.
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Problems can arise, however, when we allow ourselves to fall into the habit of only noticing bad behaviour. It can be too easy to take good behaviour for granted, and while it should be considered the ‘norm,’ it still should be acknowledged.
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Our child could be playing happily for hours while we get on with something else, yet the moment they become bored and begin to play up, that’s when we turn our attention to them; to scold them, does this sound familiar? Don’t worry, we’re all guilty.
This doesn't mean that we should give rewards for good behaviour or use those rewards as a bribe to encourage it. Doing the right thing should be expected and praised. Negative behaviours should have consequences.
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It only takes a moment to give our child a cuddle and tell them how proud we are of them, and that is all the positive reinforcement they should need.
It’s every parent’s fantasy to have a perfectly behaved child, but we all know there is no such thing (just like there’s no such thing as a perfectly behaved adult,) but we can expect good behaviour most of the time. The more we notice that good behaviour and acknowledge it, the more of it we will see.