Full-time, full-on family life can be tricky, especially if unseasonable wet weather restricts outdoor activities with the children. Even during sunny spells the days in the summer school holidays can seem awfully long.
If you are losing your patience with your children or teenagers who squabble, answer back or find it hard to stay calm, it could be time to take action.
Some top tips:
- Provide them with structure
Children often misbehave when they are bored or uncertain about what’s coming up. Routines are important for many youngsters and when the predictability of the school day is withdrawn they struggle with the ‘open-ended’ nature of their days. Be clear about what their day will have in store without tying yourself into things too rigidly. Providing an informal ‘timetable’ for the day (which you reserve the right to alter) can be reassuring, and the benefits may be even greater if you offer your kids an element of choice within this timetable. Children like control and if they are given some legitimate above-board choices, within boundaries, they are less likely to be challenging and manipulative in their controlling behaviour. So, ‘This morning we need to go shopping, shall we go to Asda or Sainsbury’s?….. and this afternoon a movie would be good. Shall we watch ‘the Lego Movie or Brave?’ Even teenagers like to have some activities booked in as a means of breaking up the long days, and gently insisting on a shared activity can be a good way to build the relationship with your teen and also part them from their beloved technology.
- Make use of their favourite ‘things’
Consider their current favourite gadget, toy or interest area and place some restrictions on it until they do as you want. So it’s not an automatic right to play on the iPad, but first they have to brush their teeth, make their bed, put dirty clothes in the laundry and interact in a pleasant way with the rest of the family… before their 30 minute iPad slot. Sounds controlling, I know, but parents who manage the day in this way feel that they have a crucial ‘carrot’, or whole bunch of root veg, to dangle, and a strategy which helps them create some much needed household boundaries.
- Pay attention!
Playing with little ones, having conversations with children and really listening to teenagers without judging, works wonders with behaviour. Some misbehaviour is attention seeking, so if they feel deprived of positive attention then any kind of attention will do, including being nagged, shouted at, or worse! Negativity breeds negative behaviour whilst positive attention promotes good behaviour. ‘Connecting’ with children and young people is sometimes called ‘quality time’ which suggests long activities. This is helpful when it can be managed, but parents are busy people and brief spells of interaction which include smiles, hugs, showing interest in toys, games, gadgets, friends and interests and asking questions can be just as important. Keeping communication lines open is helpful for all kinds of reasons, especially with young people who are finding their feet in the outside world. To feed the relationship really is a top priority for all parents, but especially if there are difficult behaviours to address….. at any time of the year.
Child Behaviour Specialist in the Bristol Area
If you’re struggling with your child’s behaviour, get in touch and find out how I can help. I am able to devise a personalised strategy for you and your family, and work with you to make your home a happier and healthier place. Take a look at some of the testimonials from parents I’ve helped in the past, and get in touch with me today.