When it comes to kids, they can be oh-so-cute, funny and charming. They really do have the power to melt your heart. Yet, when you want to teach good moral lessons, the time may come when you need to be firm and stand your ground. Insert pouty kid faces here. Being firm doesn’t mean you need to be the bad guy doling out punishments. On the contrary, it means you can actually teach valuable lessons of respect and accountability with the way you are being firm.
When children act out, and we all know that they will, they are also essentially testing boundaries. That is when you need to remain firm with your limits and boundaries while maintaining a warm attitude. Easier said than done at times, but there are a few things to keep in mind that may help.
Tip #1: Check Your Body Language and Tone
When you are speaking with your little one, especially when they are misbehaving, always make sure you check how your body language is and your tone. Children can immediately feel tension and to avoid intimidating them, get down to their level (and eye level) and have a neutral facial expression. This helps put them at ease while you talk with them.
Tip #2: Use Firm Language
Choose your words carefully to make sure your language doesn’t confuse your child. For example, be firm in what you say and avoid adding questions at the end of the sentence that may indicate wishy-washy-ness such as, “Ok?” Avoid passivity when you are setting limits and be clear about the boundaries.
Tip #3: Be Firm, But Warm
Always be warm in your communication as this helps to show children that you care and are simply reassuring them that what you are saying, although important, is still coming from a place of warmth and love.
Tip #4: Stay Consistent
The best way to reinforce good behaviour and proper boundaries is to remain consistent. Stick to your decisions so that your children can begin to know what to expect when you make one. Follow through with your decisions with the right actions and sound confident so that they know when you say something, you mean it.
Tip #5: Have Realistic Expectations
Keep in mind that when you are trying to be firm with children, they will have different reactions at different developmental stages. Younger ones may react by saying, “No” a lot or asking, “Why?” The older ones may become sassier and talk back. Just stick to your ground with reasons for them and keep a neutral and warm tone.
Hopefully these tips will prove helpful to you! Being firm teaches children to listen and respect your decisions while learning about limits.
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