One of the most effective ways of letting kids learn about the wrong things to do is to let them suffer the consequences.
Buy a relatively fragile toy and warn them sternly that it is fragile and it will break if thrown around or dropped from a high height. Then let the child play with the fragile toy until they wind up breaking it. Then tell them that because they were not careful enough the toy broke and tell them that it will be a long time before they will be trusted with another fragile toy again.
Obviously if the child is too young to be trusted with toxic household chemicals, dangerous medicines, or sharp objects like knives and sharp forks then these objects should be locked away in a secure place inaccessible to the child. You would not want them to suffer the bad consequences of being poisoned, cutting themselves severely with a sharp knife, or poking out an eye with a sharp fork.
The swimming pool is very dangerous for very small children and it should be fenced off until the child is taught to tread water or minimally stay afloat.
When crossing a street it is wise to hold the hand of a child and teach them to look both ways before crossing the street. If the child is not old enough to follow you across the street without running out into it then you must continue to hold the child’s hand until the child follows you obediently across the street on their own.
Logical consequences can also be taught with consistency.
If a child begins to throw a toy around which is not meant to be thrown then it can be removed and placed on a shelf for the rest of the day. A toy which is meant to be shared can similarly be removed for a day if sharing does not occur. If the children are old enough to tell time then you can request that each child share a toy for 10 minutes at a time. Once again, if the toy is not appropriately shared then it can be removed for the day. Sometimes a toy can be shared on a daily basis and one child may have it on Monday and the other can have it to play with on a Tuesday, etc.
Before bedtime it is a good time to put toys away. If the child does not put the toys away then you can threaten to put the toys in a box and not make them available for the next day of playing. If the child still refuses to put the toys away then follow through with the threat and box up the toys and remove them to a safe place out of reach for the next day.
Bathing, brushing teeth, and putting dirty clothes into a laundry hamper is a good routine to get into before bedtime. Once again a threat to remove a favorite toy for a day or a few days may be used to get compliance. Not highly recommended but possible is to force a child to put dirty clothes in a hamper by physically making them go through the motions by grabbing the child’s hand and moving his or her body from clothes to hamper until all the dirty clothes have been dropped in.
If a child does not finish dinner then that is just fine but warn them that they will be given no food or snacks until the next meal time. Children these days are overfed and missing one or two meals is not a tragic or unacceptable circumstance. Our ancestors sometimes went days without eating and even fasted at certain times and frankly only ate when hungry.
Another technique used by parents to stuff their kids is to say that you will only get desert if you finish your meal. Frankly, desert should be maybe a once in a week event since overconsumption of sweets is a major cause of diabetes and other eating problems. Supermarkets are overflowing with sugar added to lousy over processed foods of all kinds and is a major reason why many humans no longer eat healthy well balanced organic food meals.
For children fighting scolding in a loud voice can help and if that fails separating them physically and carrying one off to sit in a chair in a corner by themselves for an hour or so is usually effective. If a child throws a tantrum in a public place then physically removing them from that location and getting them to quiet or cool down in the car or outside the public location usually works if reinforced with the words-are you now ready to go back and behave?
Withholding a child’s privileges works well for all ages.
Withholding a cherished toy, not letting a child play outdoors for a day, or not letting him or her play with a playmate are privileges which can be withheld for bad behavior or as a form of discipline. For older children taking away a cellphone or computer for a day or week and grounding them for a given time are ways to get compliance with household rules and good behavior.
Spanking is usually not recommended but there may be certain children who are becoming compulsive liars or stealers and adults can be severely punished for these behaviors. Explain first to the children that lying and stealing destroys the trust between humans and they can no longer be good friends or no one will believe them anymore and that adults are punished for stealing with fines and jail. The threat of spanking should first be done for serious lying or stealing and then a consistent follow through with the spanking punishment if the intentional lying or stealing occurs again.
Discuss the logical consequences or reasons why bad behavior should not be tolerated.
Parents are usually not very good at this.
Reasons against fighting can be physical pain or harm on another, causing aggressive emotions and actions in another or probable bad retaliation, parents don’t physically fight with one another because they love one another and want to live together peacefully, and finally adult fighting is called physical abuse or battery and aggression punishable by jail time.
Reasons against yelling indoors is that it disturbs or annoys others who may not be able to concentrate on what they are doing, it is usually done in emergencies such as an accident, and it is usually done outdoors to cover a larger communication distance and to signal danger such as a speeding car or bicycle, etc.
Reasons for being polite, kind, considerate, empathetic, and friendly is that most humans will like you more and may even become a friend.
Non negotiable arguments for younger children.
There are just times when something isn’t fair in the child’s mind or when the child asserts his or her stubborn self and refuses to do something no matter how reasonable it may be. These are time when the parent has to say “yes, it isn’t fair” or “I know” and proceeds to enforce the rules saying Me and Mom are in charge of the family and rule enforcement and we are the final authority in making decisions for the children in the family. When you have children of your own then you can be the boss over them when they are young.
Finally the most important thing is to be a good role model for your children since most children ultimately behave like their parents later in life and act the same way towards their own children also. If you want your children to not smoke, not drink, not do drugs, not curse, not gamble, not fight, not frequently argue and if you want them to be polite, kind, courteous, empathetic, friendly, and loving then be that way yourself and interact appropriately with your spouse and other humans.
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