Conquering bad behavior is not my favorite part of parenting but I learned that the sooner it was caught, the easier it was taught. In other words, when you observe bad behavior in your child, correct it quickly. If you allow the behavior to go on and on without correction you will have a harder time re-training your child.
Another thing I learned is that often times the same behavior will pop up again at a different stage of a child’s life. It seems that we humans have inherent weaknesses that, despite repetitive training, take root and pop up seasonally. Every mom needs to know how to regularly weed the garden of her child’s heart!
Below are 5 bad behaviors I tried to keep an eye on no matter my child’s age. The common theme with all of these behaviors is the need for you to figure out the root cause behind them; especially if a child starts exhibiting one of these out of the blue. That’s a huge clue that something could be going on in your child’s life.
It’s often stronger in some children than others. My oldest is so obedient that you would never think that lying would’ve been a challenge for her, but it was. She put so much pressure on herself to do the right thing that she would rather lie than confess a mistake. I would tell her, “Honey it’s okay to make a mistake, but it’s a double mistake if you lie.”
So if your child is lying, look for the motivation behind it and address it. Sometimes children want to do the wrong thing so passionately that they will think it’s worth it to cover it up with a lie. And you want to catch your children when they lie because if they get away with it, they will find it an easy cover up for other bad behavior.
Here is another resource on how to get your kids to stop lying.
As the Digital Marketing Director at Family First I get to work with a half dozen or so millennials. The kids I work with defy the entitled reputation of this generation. It is clear their mothers taught them to be respectful. The benefit is all mine as their employer. They are fun to work with because of the way they treat me and each other. If you want your children to succeed in school or in their adult life teach them this valuable tool of respect. If your child can master this they will shine like a star.
When my older kids would repeatedly use unkind words, they would lose the privilege of talking on their phone. I would turn their mobile service off without any explanation. They understood that if they could not speak kindly to each other I could not trust that they were speaking kindly to the world. Teach your children how to be kind and thoughtful in words and deeds. We have a few more ideas to teach kindness in the podcast below.
The solution here is to teach self-control. If you do it early and keep at it, they will be more successful. One of my sons was adopted at 9, and he really struggled with aggressive behavior. These Self-Control Conversations Starters can open the discussion with your kids about controlling themselves.
Instilling a good work ethic starts by giving kids chores at a young age. Make it fun. “Hey! We all pitch in as a team and then we can go get ice cream.” To get started, use a chore chart or clean up cards. In our house we didn’t have “boy” chores and “girl” chores. Rotate the chores and let your children do them all.
I can’t give you a million ideas for how to deal with each of these behaviors, but do your best and don’t underestimate the power of being creative when coming up with a plan.
To hear more discussion on this topic, listen to the podcast below.