Children, because of immaturity tend to do unacceptable behaviors that they don't really mean. It is often up to parents to help their children recognize the line and not to cross it. It is often the parents who serve as first teachers in teaching their children how to express their feelings, thoughts and needs in a socially acceptable manner. However, teaching children is not as easy as some people might think. A lot of factors have to be taken into consideration and only by carefully interacting with the child can the teaching be effective.
Here are tips on how to teach your child socially acceptable behavior in an effective manner:
- First, you have to be sensitive about where your child is coming from. You have to take note of the child's development stage. It will explain a lot about the way your child is thinking or feeling at this particular point in time. This will help you build realistic expectations on his abilities to perform. Although generally children of all ages have to receive praises from you, you have to do it in such a way that he will appreciate it the most. Likewise, you should be able to talk in his level. Remember, he has to understand you fully in whatever conflict that will arise between the two of you.
- If you should say "No", be sure to have your reasons heard. Simply saying to your child what he cannot do and not explaining why is underestimating your child's ability to understand. Usually when a child reaches the age of seven, he can already make sense out of your reasoning. Children can build ideals about socializing norms and proper behavior. The same holds true should you decide to allow your child about certain activities he can do, or behaviors he can show. Your "Yes" has to be fully explained as well. Your child has to have an idea why he was allowed to do so. He should be able to accept this as part of his personality building.
- Deal with your child in private. Self-esteem matters a lot even for children. Similarly building or ruining their self-esteem can have dire effects especially on your child's future behavior. To prevent creating a bad cycle, reprimand your child when he has done wrong in private. Often times, children who have displayed a less appropriate manner are the ones who do not have a single clue on how to handle such social situation. Often times, they would rely on an adult to actually tell them what to do. If you are in a public place, wait until you get home to discuss things in private. Remember, going straight with your child in front of other people can be recollected as a bad and painful experience for him. It is important for you not use the element of embarrassment in making your child remember your point.
- Children can be very observant. They can easily learn the language and behavior of adults around them. Be sure to set good example for your child to witness in a daily basis. In an event that your child experienced or observed a socially unacceptable behavior, be vigilant about it, explain dutifully and make yourself available for his questions.
- Lastly, know that your child is yet to grow. He is a work in progress. Be patient in disciplining him and know that socially acceptable behavior will take long and numerous baby steps to achieve.
It is your responsibility as a parent to know your child and to introduce him to proper behavior. However, you cannot say that you have to be a perfect parent to have the perfect child. Rather, it is a process of love happening within your relationship.