Children can be very difficult to raise. They have their ideas and thoughts, which are sometimes hard for us adults to understand. If you’re a parent, we must learn how to deal with children properly if we want them to grow into happy and healthy adults.
We all know what they shouldn’t eat, but what else can we do as parents to help our kids grow?
Step 1: Get Yourself Motivated!
It might sound like an odd step, but it’s important to stress it. You must be motivated for your child to change their behavior. You also need to make sure that you motivate yourself as well. If you don’t believe you can manage the task, how can you expect them to follow through on something they don’t agree with? It will only lead to disappointment, resentment, and anger from you. Make sure you are fully committed to this new lifestyle change before you begin.
Step 2: Think About the Changes That Need To Be Made
You should first sit down with your child and think about the changes that need to be made. Try to keep in mind what your goal is and why you are doing this. For example, if you are trying to eliminate bad eating habits, maybe go back to basics with family meals. Also, ensure that your children understand the benefits of such a meal plan. Explain to them that if they eat better, they will have more energy throughout the day and become healthier and happier overall. Experts at Delphi Health Group emphasize that you must demonstrate what you mean by “better” to remove any uncertainty or ambiguity from their minds.
Step 3: Decide How You Will Go About Changing Your Child’s Bad Habits
There are many ways to implement a behavior change. Some common methods include rewards, punishments, and incentives. Rewards are the most popular choice for parents regarding changing bad habits. These work well because the reward is always tied to the action itself, so there is no room for debate. Positive reinforcement is much more effective than negative reinforcement and should be used whenever possible. Punishments are less favored when changing bad habits.
Incentives are another option you could choose. Incentives usually involve a certain amount of money, candy, gift cards, etc. It works well for older children who may have jobs or other activities to attend to. Suppose your child understands that these rewards are not being given freely. In that case, they will feel more inclined to continue following your rules.
Step 4: Always Be Positive!
Always remain positive when trying to change your child’s behavior. Remember that they are just young and do not yet understand the consequences that will come with their actions. They are still learning and growing every single day. We must guide them along the right path without forcing them too far from their comfort zone.
If you get angry or upset during the process, your child will take this as a sign that they are wrong and won’t listen to you next time. If you stay calm and relaxed, your child will see you are serious about what you say. It will hopefully help them to become more responsible and self-reliant.
Step 5: Be Patient!
It takes some time to change a habit. Even though we can see results quickly, it is important to understand that they will not manifest overnight. If you are patient enough, you might notice that your child has already changed their behavior without telling them explicitly to stop. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your child become a little bit better each day.
Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement
Reinforcements are designed to encourage desired behaviors and discourage undesired ones. Sometimes, however, the effects of positive reinforcement aren’t as powerful as those of negative reinforcement. Research shows that although people are more likely to act when rewarded for it, the same doesn’t hold in reverse.
This phenomenon is because it is hard for us to find pleasure in performing actions we naturally desire. When we enjoy something, it feels natural and effortless. However, it becomes a struggle and almost painful to accomplish when we are forced to do something.
So let’s look at the different kinds of reinforcement, how they affect behavior, and what kind of reinforcements we should use to change our children’s bad habits. Positive reinforcement is an incentive-based form of reinforcement. It is a technique that involves rewarding desirable behavior. Teachers commonly use positive reinforcement to motivate students. It is also a popular tool among parents and adults who wish to change their behavior.
Rewards are often linked to the action itself. The reward is typically set according to the value of the action or behavior. For example, if a child gets into trouble at school, the teacher might give them a treat after class. This is a simple way to change undesirable behaviors.
Research suggests that positive reinforcement helps us learn new skills and encourages behaviors that benefit our overall well-being. According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, positive reinforcement is one of the most effective techniques for changing behavior. It encourages people to repeat a particular behavior because they receive a reward.
Negative reinforcement is another form of punishment that discourages unwanted behaviors. Parents often use it to correct their children’s bad behavior. It is similar to positive reinforcement, but rather than rewarding desirable behavior, it punishes undesirable behavior.
For instance, if a child decides to interrupt his sister while she is reading in peace, he may be punished by being sent to bed early. It is a common strategy used by parents to reinforce good behavior. Although negative reinforcement is not as effective as positive reinforcement, it is still quite useful.
Negative reinforcement is a great tool to help us change undesirable behaviors. However, unlike positive reinforcement, it does not produce long-lasting results. Instead, it focuses on eliminating the specific behavior causing the problem, leaving other undesirable behaviors untouched.
Negative reinforcement is usually associated with punishment. Punishment is any action intended to change or eliminate unwanted behavior. Punishment can be verbal, physical, and even emotional. According to the University of Oxford, punishment teaches children to fear authority figures and undermine their trust in others.
Although punishment might work in the short term, it is generally ineffective in making long-lasting behavioral changes. Studies show that punishments are often met with children’s resistance, making it difficult to maintain the desired behavior over time. Punishment is therefore not recommended to change your child’s behavior.
Changing our children’s habits can be tricky, especially since these habits can often be unhealthy. However, suppose we are willing to put in the effort. In that case, we can guide them towards becoming a healthier version of themselves. Following the five steps above, you should find that you can make a difference in your child’s life. It will improve their health and help them develop into more mature, confident individuals. With time, patience, and the right mindset, anything is possible.