As a good parent, you know that rather than controlling your child, you need to teach him the skills to learn to control himself. Of course, that can be easier said than done when you have a spirited son who can be a challenge. Don't fret -- even the most difficult kids can be set on the right path to proper behavior with the correct type of parenting skills. Gain control over your child's moods and teach him better self control by helping him understand what to expect and to appropriately direct his emotions.
Clear and consistent expectations lay the groundwork for a son who knows how to control himself and answer to you as his parent. Whether you have a toddler or a teen, your job is infinitely easier if you set rules that your child understands. Rules that waver and discipline and punishments that are inconsistent are practically a recipe for a child who constantly pushes boundaries -- and your buttons. If you have a younger child, allow your actions to set the standard. If he acts up, use the same punishment each time. If you have an older child, you can talk about your expectations and decide on proper discipline together.
Offering Outlets and Choices
What you see as "out-of-control" behavior may be more along the lines of acting out of frustration or aggression. Without the proper outlets, your son may utilize acting out as a way to vent his feelings, even if it is in a deconstructive way. Offering outlets for aggression -- such as sports and outdoor play -- and a lack of control -- such as letting him make simple choices in his daily life -- could help you teach your child self control and mastery. Giving up some of your own control could mean fewer outbursts and a more in-control kid.
Allowing Logical and Natural Consequences
Kids can't always see the consequences of their actions, so it's important to use both natural and logical consequences to help your son understand. For younger kids, logical consequences work well. For instance, if he pushes on the playground, he's not allowed to go to the playground until he can play nicely. For an out-of-control teen, natural consequences can help your child understand and take responsibility for his actions. For instance, if he skips out on writing a school paper, he either takes the F or talks to his teacher about his makeup work without you softening the blow. Both types of consequences can be difficult to use, but they're highly effective in teaching children self control.
One of the most effective ways to keep your son's behavior in check is to identify his triggers and prevent misbehavior in the first place. Prevention methods work to counteract bad behavior before you even have to use punishment and discipline. For instance, if you know that your tired child is more prone to acting out, make sure he gets plenty of sleep. If he tends to get hyper in large groups or places where he needs to stay quiet for long periods of time, give him frequent breaks. You can work to prevent out-of-control spells so you get to enjoy the time you spend with your son.
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