Parenting can be challenging, especially when your kids start growing up. Constant talking back, unnecessary demands, picking up fights with family members; when a kid starts showing off-track behavior, it perplexes parents; they get angry and frustrated. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to make things right. In some scenarios, children misbehave to get your attention, and sometimes it works, but it will only make things harder for them in future. As parents, it is important to figure out what is going on with your kids, they need to know you will listen and understand them.
How can parents achieve this? Connect before correct. A vital step of this process is communication. It is crucial that it happens in equal measures on both ends, to ensure effective communication. This improves your bond with kids and encourages them to listen to you.
Here are a few ways you can connect with your kids:
- Listen: Listen to your kids, figure out what they want and why is it important to them and how something is bothering them. Do not rush into finding solutions or jump to conclusions. Sometimes the kids only need to know you are listening and you understand, so just sit patiently and let them speak about their feelings. Michelle a mother of two daughters from DC claims that, ‘She was worried about her elder ones misbehaviour and the first few months of listening to her daughters demand has helped Michelle improve her daughter’s behaviour.’ What she did different this time was that she heard all the problems and found a common ground between all of them before fixing it. She followed up by explaining it to her daughter.
- Connect: When kids feel connected, they open up to you and listen to you more. Nobody wants to listen to someone who tells them what to do, how to do, asks to change all the time. But, if someone understands you, respects your opinions, you are more likely to take their advice and be influenced by them. Unlike conventional methods of punishing kids, connect before correct pays off in the long run. Yelling at kids to correct undesirable behavior might be a quick way to get to the point, but if you focus on correcting all the time, your connection with kids might degrade and they won’t pay heed to your words. As Dr. Jane Nelson, a family & child counselor from California also the author of Positive Discipline says, ”You have to reach the heart before you reach the head.”
- Spend time with your kids: Tally your own behavior, have you been spending enough time with your kids? Do you pay attention to their problems? Avoid using electronics when trying to have conversations with your kids, if you constantly text or call during the conversation, kids might think you are not taking them seriously.
- Be the person you want your child to be: Children learn from their parents. You do not have the power to control your kids behavior. They watch you and learn how to make decisions and learn from mistakes. You are their coach, but you cannot make decisions for them.
Lastly, what parents need to understand is, they need to lower their expectations from their kids. They are still growing and learning, you cannot expect them to behave in a way you want them all the time. Engage with your kids to know them better, teach them values and build their self-esteem. Treat them kindly with respect so they do the same with others.