How does your child learn the rules?
Every child needs a model of acceptable behaviour in order to grow and develop. This means that parents need to instil family values in their children, take on parental responsibility and set boundaries, i.e. say no when they consider it necessary.
Children learn the rules from infancy
Even an infant can notice parental reactions and draw conclusions regarding his/her own behaviour. Whether it is an infant, a small child, a pre-schooler or a schoolchild – children learn the rules from the experience they have with their parents day by day.
Parents choose the rules for their children
In doing so, they can be guided by their own experiences or expert advice. Choosing rules is the first step in teaching them effectively. Neither too many nor too few rules are good. Wise choices are fair rules that respect a child’s personality but require respect for parents and other people. The rules, which are firm, reliable and predictable, do not vary on the emotional state of the parents and are appropriate to the age and developmental state of the child. In doing so, we must know what we must never say “no” to, and these are the basic children’s needs for food, clothing, footwear, health, sleep, love, and social relationships.
How to enforce the rules?
To begin with, the messages we send to the child should be formulated clearly instead of vaguely, positively instead of negatively. Pay attention to your child’s positive behaviour so that the child does not get your attention only when he or she is behaving inappropriately. If you criticize, always criticize child’s behaviour – never the child as a person. Encourage your child. Always point out exactly what you like about the child. Be consistent – establish family rules about sleeping, eating, watching TV and apply them consistently because your child needs to know where it stands. If you once allow your child to eat on the couch, and once you insist that it must sit at the table, the child will be confused and will not know where the boundaries are, what is allowed and what is not. In addition, your words should follow your deeds. Deeds that must not punish, rather set boundaries. Punishments have something arbitrary and hostile. However, your child can learn from the logical consequences. By doing so, you are sending your child a message that you love him/her and that he/she is important to you. That is why you cannot be indifferent towards how your child behaves but must offer the child the help to adopt the necessary rules. It is always better to determine incentives instead of announcing unpleasant consequences. Although the same has been said, the message is quite different. Incentives are not based on the child’s fear of parental punishment, but rather allow the child to take responsibility for his/her actions.
Avoid corporal punishment!
Remember to serve as an example to your own child. By corporal punishment, you teach your child that physical violence is acceptable if we are stronger. By doing so, you are indirectly teaching your child that he/she can also beat his/her younger siblings or other children in kindergarten. In addition, physical violence has a negative effect on a child’s self-esteem and can cause fear and a desire for revenge. Just imagine how you would feel if one of your loved ones, physically stronger than you, hit or beat you. Your child feels similarly: deeply hurt and humiliated. Thus, physical violence has a devastating effect on your relationship with your child, so it is completely inappropriate as an educational tool.