LivingFive practical examples to explain to children that they...

Five practical examples to explain to children that they cannot do something from positive discipline

Children need limits to grow up happy, safe and confident , but those limits must be set in a fair and proportionate way, and always with respect, love and empathy. In addition, it is recommended that children can also express their opinion when the situation allows it, since getting involved in their own education allows them to better accept the rules.

However, and as we have commented on several occasions, in this learning process children will make mistakes and challenge the limits imposed more than once. In these cases it is important that parents are by their side, correcting their behavior from calm and connection, because only then will we help them acquire skills to continue learning.

To illustrate how to correct children in a positive way, we have selected five daily situations that we have surely all experienced with our children at some time.

The five steps you must follow when correcting the child

1) Do not penalize the mistake : the mistake made by the child should not be seen as something negative, but as a learning opportunity. In this sense, adults should not focus on emphasizing that mistake, or label or judge the child for it, but simply help them identify it and focus on solving it.

2) Connect with the child : before correcting we must connect with the child, be interested in how he feels and understand what could have happened so that he makes the decision that has led him to make that mistake.

3) Review the limits together , and help him understand what is allowed and what is not (offer alternatives)

4) Help him to fix his mistake and find solutions together.

5) Encourage your child , appreciate his contribution and help him understand how our good deeds have a positive impact on oneself and on others.

Once we have seen the steps we must take if our child makes a mistake, we are going to break it down in more detail with these five everyday examples :

“He doesn’t want to do his homework: what do I do?”

In too many homes, the time to do homework becomes a daily battle in which children show their disagreement or refusal to do homework, facing the bewilderment of parents, who do not know how to act in such a situation.

Leaving aside the specific cases in which the help or advice of the school is required, we can thus approach the situation in a positive way:

1) Identify the situation: “I see you don’t feel like doing your homework”

2) Connection: “I would like to know what is happening to you: are you tired? Do you not like what you are studying now at school? Are you unmotivated? Are you sleepy? Do you prefer to continue playing? .” (we try to find out the cause behind the rejection of homework)

3) Empathize and review the limits: “I understand how you feel. The same thing happens to me when I have to finish my work and I’m so tired that the only thing I want is to lie on the sofa” (we empathize). “However, doing your homework is a responsibility that you must assume as part of your education” (we review the limits)

– 4) Search for solutions: “How do you think it would be easier for you to undertake this task? Do you think that if you split up your homework and do some exercises now and others in a while, it will be easier for you? homework before or after bath?…”

– 5) Acknowledgment and encouragement: “I see that you have made a great effort doing this math exercise” (acknowledgment) “I remember that a few days ago you did an exercise similar to this one, and you showed a great capacity for concentration and memory. Cheer up! I’m sure you’ll do the same today” (encouragement and acknowledgment of their strengths)

“He doesn’t want to pick up his room: what do I do?”

Whether it’s toys, their clothes, or other items, chaos and disorder often reign in children’s and teens’ bedrooms . Telling them over and over again to pick up their things doesn’t usually work, let alone resorting to punishments and blackmail that only make the situation worse.

How to get children to keep order in their room without falling into screaming or looking like a broken record?

1) Identify the situation: “What a fright I had when I entered your room! I thought I had made a mistake and I had sneaked into a lion’s den!” (we explain the situation and in the process we break the ice with a bit of humor) “With so many toys scattered on the floor, it must be difficult for you to find the one you like so much”

2) Connection: “What happened to make the room so messy?” (take an interest in knowing the reasons why your child’s room is not located)

3) Empathize and review the limits: “I understand that last night you were tired to put your clothes” (we empathize). “Today it’s time to do laundry and the clothes that are not in the basket will not be washed” (remember the rules of the house and incidentally, the consequences of not contributing to household chores). “If the toys are placed we will avoid stepping on them and hurting our feet”, “if we step on the toys we can accidentally break them”, “if the room is tidy it will be more comfortable to be in it”… (we review with the child the reasons why order at home is important)

– 4) Search for solutions: “Do you think that if we structured the room by thematic corners it would be easier for you to maintain order?” “What would you need to make your closet tidy ?” “Would you like to give a new decorative air to your room and thus order things according to your tastes” (sense of belonging)

– 5) Acknowledgment and encouragement: “I see you’ve tidied up your room. It’s certainly much cozier now!”

“He doesn’t want to clean up: what do I do?”

There are children who happily face bath time, but others have a harder time, forget to brush their teeth every day or parents must be constantly on top of them to clean themselves.

Although it is essential to instill these daily hygiene routines in our children since they are young, we should not do it by force, but little by little, promoting their autonomy from positive learning.

How can we do it?

1) Identify the situation: “I have observed that the time to brush your teeth every night costs you a lot of work”

2) Connection: “Maybe today you are more tired than usual and that’s why you don’t want to take a shower?” “Why don’t you like me to wash your hair?”

3) Empathize and review the limits: “I understand that you do not feel like brushing your teeth at night; we are tired and all we want is to go to bed.” “However, brushing our teeth is essential to take care of our oral health and going to sleep with dirty teeth can lead to the appearance of cavities”

– 4) Search for solutions: “Would you like to come with me to the pharmacy and choose a fun toothbrush?”. “Since you told me that you don’t like me to wash your hair because it gets tangled later, would it help if we bought a detangling spray that prevents those annoying knots?” “Do you prefer shower or bath?” (limited options)

– 5) Acknowledgment and encouragement: “Have you noticed that you have brushed your teeth by yourself and without anyone reminding you?” “Your hair smells so good! It shows that you have washed it thoroughly”

“I don’t want him to touch something: how do I tell him?”

Children are naturally curious and this leads them to explore and touch everything around them . Sometimes this can be a problem for themselves (for example, if they touch a plug) or for others (for example, when they go to someone’s house and their eagerness to explore causes them to accidentally break something valuable).

When it comes to things that can pose a danger to them, it is necessary for adults to anticipate and take appropriate measures (protecting plugs, placing fences around the pool, installing security devices so that the doors do not close…) . But when their curious nature leads them to do things that, without posing a danger to themselves, can affect other people , this is how we can act to focus the situation:

1) Identify the situation: “I know that Grandma’s collection of glass ornaments interests you very much, and that you like to touch the figurines every time we go to her house”

2) Connection: “It’s normal that you want to do it, they are really flashy and shiny ornaments”

– 3) Empathize and review the limits: “However, these are very fragile ornaments and at the slightest carelessness they can fall to the ground and break.” “Imagine how Grandma would feel if an ornament in her collection was broken.” “I’m sure he would be sad, as it would happen to you if your favorite doll broke.”

– 4) Search for solutions: “ If you are curious about a particular ornament, tell Grandma before touching it and she will surely show it with delight.” “There’s something really fun you’re going to be able to do at Grandma’s house, and that’s play safely in the yard.” “Maybe you want to help grandma take care of her plants” (we offer the child other safe and attractive leisure alternatives, while fostering their sense of belonging)

– 5) Acknowledgment and encouragement: “What a good idea you had when you asked Dad to lift you up so you could see Grandma’s vase up close and safely!” “You’ve had a lot of fun at grandma’s house watering her plants, and by the way, you’ve helped her a lot” (we emphasize that there are other safe leisure alternatives for others, and that in turn require their collaboration and involvement)

“He interrupts me while I’m working: how do I correct him?”

How difficult it is to telework with young children! In addition to the concentration and tension involved in carrying out almost any job, the child’s needs are added that are not being met at that moment ( “I’m bored, but you don’t pay attention to me”, “I want to play with you, but you can’t” …), causing a sometimes chaotic and overwhelming situation for parents.

How to face it from a positive point?

1) Identify the situation: “Now I have to connect to a work meeting, and I know that you don’t like this moment”

2) Connection: “I understand you. When I have a video conference I have to be focused and silent and you feel lonely and bored”

– 3) Empathize and review the limits: “I would prefer to be playing with you, but it is my obligation to work” (you empathize and remind him/her that the most important thing for you will always be him/her). “Think about the games we can play together when Mommy finishes work.” “During the meeting I need silence so that I can concentrate and work better: I am sure that I can count on your help so that my meeting is productive, it is not delayed and we can gather together very soon” (you inform him of what you need and trust me to help you)

– 4) Search for solutions: “What do you think if I put a small table in my office so you can draw while I work?”. “Would you like to watch a cartoon while I finish these reports?” “What activities do you think would help keep you entertained while I finish my work?”

– 5) Recognition and encouragement: “Thanks to your collaboration I have been able to concentrate and finish my work.” “I know how hard it has been to wait patiently for the meeting to end to play: congratulations!”

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