Kids can be cute and fun to be with, especially at the early stages, however when they start exploring, discovering things, and forming characters that distinguish their personalities, they can sometimes attempt to go beyond boundaries and try to defy our authority. All these can be frustrating to parents or carers, and we try out different ways of correcting them when they misbehave. Sometimes we get it right and at some other times we are stuck at what to do.
In our previous post in the Child Development Series, we examined exemplary living as a way of enforcing good behaviour, which is a more preventative measure. In this chat with Mr Gabriel Isa, the Program Manager of Play Smart Concepts, we try to find out more appropriate corrective measures for wrong behaviour in kids.
Mr Isa, who has over ten years experience working with children with various developmental delays, emphasized that the best corrective measure is relative to the child in question as every child is unique. He opined that one cannot find the best corrective measure without first establishing a rapport with the child, and this is by consciously participating in the child’s life. Get involved in the different activities and stages of the child’s life beyond just providing the physical needs of the child. Having done this then these tips should be helpful to parents or caregivers:
- Set boundaries in the home or classroom and have discussions with the children on the boundaries and why they are set. Children gravitate towards order, but it is the responsibility of the adult in care to first set the rules;
- Explain the consequences of breaking the ground rules and make sure to enforce them. Do not make empty threats, as children learn faster by what you do than what you say. If you say you will withdraw some privileges if the child errs, stick to it;
- Remember the child’s personality determines the best form of correction. For example if a child loves a certain toy, or attention, or play time with friends, withdrawing these things and explaining why to them could be more of a corrective measure than raising our voices.
On spanking the child, he expressed that it is often a way of letting out frustrations or a repetition of what one experienced rather than being the best way to correct the child. He explained that our world has evolved beyond what was seen as corrective measures many years ago and there are information and resources available today for parents.
He advised that parents should not stick to rigidity and convention but should be open to evolve with time and the many new ways of correcting the child. However, he still holds that above all things is the need to create time and be there for the kids from the beginning so that the foundations are set right from a young age. We couldn’t agree more!