If you have ever stood in line at the grocery store, watching the well-behaved children in front of you while your own little munchkin whines, squirms and grabs at every tempting treat in the aisle, you’ve probably wondered what magic trick or potion those other parents have discovered. Fortunately, there is no magic involved -- there are many ways you can help influence positive behavior in your own child. Before you know it, other parents will be wondering if you're a parenting magician, too.
Model the positive behaviors you'd like your child to develop. If you want your child to be kind to others, lead by example. Your child will learn a substantial amount about positive behavior and appropriate social interactions by watching how you interact with others. So, stay calm when someone cuts in front of you at the grocery store, keep road rage under control and always remember your own “please and thank you's" when interacting with others.
Provide your child with opportunities to see and try on positive behaviors. Read stories about good manners and kindness, talk and ask questions about the situations in the stories to help reinforce messages, and encourage imaginative play through which your child can act out problems and find solutions.
Arrange social interactions that let your child put the behavior she's learned into action. Organize play dates with peers, involve her in fundraising and charitable activities and incorporate regular family activities.
Monitor the television shows and other media that can influence your child's behavior. Children who watch media that demonstrates good behaviors can be positively influenced by the message, explains the University of Michigan. However, repeated exposure to violent behavior in media can desensitize his concern for human suffering, reduce his interest in helping others and increase aggressive behavior.
Recognize every time your child demonstrates positive behaviors. Praise her efforts when she tries to peacefully resolve a sibling quarrel, shares a toy or helps cheer up a sad friend. Your acknowledgement helps to reinforce the importance of good behavior and can make her proud to exhibit those characteristics.
- Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach; Howard Glasser, et al.
- University of Michigan Health System: Television and Children
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