Our children see and absorb a lot of what we do, even more than we realize! They mimic what we say, our actions and our emotions. Basically, as parents, we are the key influencers of our children’s behavior, and we determine which behavior is good or bad, and those that become a habit and/or personality trait.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, through healthychildren.org, writes that a good way for parents to teach their children good behavior is to show them a lot of love and affection throughout the day, every day. Because children repeat what they see and hear, good manners and coping mechanisms are also necessary for guiding their behavior.
“When children get enough positive attention from you, they don’t need to act out to get attention. You can decrease bad behaviors by ignoring them, but this only works if you are giving your children lots of attention for their good behaviors. The key to ignoring is making sure to give your children positive attention as soon as the bad behavior stops. It is important to not ignore unsafe behaviors that need immediate attention from you.” (healthychildren.org)
Teaching Your Children Acceptable Behavior
A child’s behavior depends on that of their parents, their community and any other major influences in their life. In truth, your behavior is their guide to proper and acceptable behavior. So, how can you ensure that your child learns and practices acceptable behavior? Believe it or not, dads can actually do these eight things to positively influence their child’s behavior:
1. Act politely
Your child will absorb how you speak with and treat other people and will probably mimic you in similar situations in their life. Use words and phrases like ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘may I-’ when interacting with them and others. Self-portrayal is a guaranteed way of guiding children’s behavior. As the saying goes, ‘monkey see, monkey do’.
2. Be helpful
Show your child the ways in which you volunteer to help family, friends and even people you don’t know. It could be at home, the supermarket, or at a restaurant. You have many opportunities to instill consideration and hospitality into your child’s behavior, including involving them in the completion of a good deed. For example, show them how to hold the door for someone when entering or exiting a building.
3. Accept and celebrate diversity
Teach your child about the ways in which people can vary in height, weight, complexion, ethnicity, and nationality. Help your child to understand what makes them unique and why each person’s difference should be celebrated and respected. It’s also helpful to introduce your children to different cultures through food, music and language. Encourage them to befriend other children from differing cultural backgrounds.
4. Teach and practice responsible financial planning
It’s important to teach your child the value of money at an early age. The introduction of the concept of creating a product or offering a service to earn money can teach your child discipline, responsibility, accuracy, and commitment. This can be done by selling cookies, lemonade, and other portable items.
5. Express your emotions openly
Displaying your emotions to your children helps them to develop emotional intelligence. They learn how to identify and process emotions and form appropriate responses to them. So feel free to laugh and cry around them and be open to explaining the reason you’re feeling those emotions. This helps in positively guiding children’s behavior.
6. Work hard
Teach your children that they must work hard to obtain what they want. In the end, hard work pays off. For example, compensate them for properly completing chores or teach them how to save their allowance to buy a new car or outfit. This develops work ethic and their concept of earning money, as well as the comprehension of a work-life balance.
7. Show your children how to enjoy life by enjoying yours
This involves allocating time to spend with your children on holidays or even weekends. It’s really one of the many secrets to keeping your family happy. By including your children in the activities that you enjoy, you strengthen your bond with them.
8. Take good care of yourself
Be sure to practice good health and hygiene and mindfulness around your children! Teaching them discipline in hygiene at an early age translates to great hygiene as an adult. Groom yourself well at home and when going out, wear clean clothes, get enough rest, and eat healthily.
Podcast Ep. 120 – 8 Things Dads Can Do To Positively Influence Their Child
Negative behavioral traits in children
We know children can also absorb negative behavior from their parents and, while we want to prevent this from happening, behavior develops gradually and sometimes unnoticed until it becomes a problem. Here are some examples of negative behavioral traits:
- Aggression as a response to disapproval
- Unforgiving with mistakes and errors
- Accusatory and never accountable
- Selfish and self-absorbed
- Unclean and unorganized in appearance and surroundings
- Overly busy, inconsiderate and dismissive
Guiding your children’s behavior is a lot easier than you think because a lot of the work is subconscious and involuntary. Remember, your child is like a sponge and will absorb and regurgitate everything they see. Following these eight steps will improve your skills in child behavior management and help you understand the intricacies of how to guide children. Children’s behavior is completely dependent on their parents, community and any other prevalent visual or audible stimulus in their lives.