Friday, August 5, 2016

Training Children to be Socially Acceptable

As soon as your little cherub turns about 15 months old, they begin to see that their behavior has an impact on their world. They learn that they have an opinion on what they like and don’t, and what the want to do and don’t do.  As they enter into the “terrific twos” they love the impact they can make on their world!

This is an exciting time for you and them. But hidden beneath the surface are a lot of dangers if you do not help your little toddler keep things in the proper perspective.

This is one of the most important times of parenting because if you fail to train your child correctly during this stage, it can open the door for a host of problems in their future and yours:

*When respect for parental authority is not enforced when you hover above them in size and control, it will be much more difficult if not almost impossible to enforce when they are as tall or taller than you.

*When you don’t teach your children discipline at this early age, they may run away from you when you call or argue with you in the wrong place or at the wrong time or not put something down in time and get hurt badly.

*When they go to daycare, preschool or kindergarten or other church programs, they will be expected to sit on the square, raise their hand, and other disciplines that are best started in the home for effective training.

*At school and elsewhere they are not in charge of the schedule and it is best if their world doesn’t crumble when they realize that because they have learned it at home.

*No one will be able to or desire watch your undisciplined child or have them over to their house or to your appointments or shopping.

Here are five simple rules to remember for this stage of the game:

1.         You are in charge.  One of the most important things children need to learn is that they can have a voice and even an opinion but they are not in charge and their voice and opinion aren’t always going to be listened to.  Even in early childcare, children are expected to listen to those in charge. It is important that they learn this skill at home. It is also hugely important as children grow up that they respect their parents’ authority. It will make it easier for them to later respect other authorities without challenging every rule and every decision.

            You can give your young children choices on some things, but little children should not be able to choose everything. The best option is to give them a few choices: do you want to wear this or this? Leaving everything up to your children is not wise because then they are led to believe that they can pick everything.

            When I play with my grandchildren, observers may believe me to be selfish when I insist that I get to pick the game sometimes, or when I refuse to let my grandchildren tell me how to run the ponies I am in charge of. The reason I do this with them, and did it with my children, is that they need to learn that they do not always get to be in charge of everything. They need to learn to play well with others at home! They will not learn consideration for others and to think of others unless they learn it at home.

2.         Watch your words. I know that God will never give me a command that He doesn’t equip me to obey. I know when God gives me a command He expects me to obey. When I worked, I also knew as an employee that the boss gave commands, not options. That is what makes a good employee. As a student, I knew the teacher gave commands, and not options. That made me a good student.

            You are not doing your children any favors by telling them to do something without following through. Worse yet is changing your mind when they throw a temper tantrum. You have then taught them that “no” means “no” only if they don’t freak out, then it may change to a “yes” for them if the freak out is crazy enough. Not a great routine to train them into.

            You need to train your children and not just watch them. They need to learn to do what you expect from them: what is reasonable and realistic for their age, or even a little beyond their age! They are way smarter than you think. If you say, “Sarah will never stay in her high chair!” she understands what you are saying and so will live up to that expectation. Better to say, “Sarah needs to stay in her high chair until she is done eating!” She hears that too, and will realize that it is what is expected of her. Training children will result in your having a much easier time when you go to someone’s house or a restaurant and Sarah needs to stay in the high chair. Some things are not an option.      

            Speak life and speak positively to and about your children. Believe me, they hear what you say about them to others and will live up to that. Also, be sure if you tell them something, follow through. Make sure they have habits of obeying you and not ignoring you.

3.         Raise your expectations. I love the movie The Miracle Worker. It is a tribute to Anne Sullivan, who was Helen Keller’s Teacher. Helen Keller was blind and deaf, and they believed her to be “dumb.” She did whatever she wanted without intervention. She was turning into a barbarian, going around the dinner table eating with her hands off everyone’s plate. Anne Sullivan refused to give in to her and taught her to read, write, and behave civilly. Helen Keller became a well-known speaker and writer and much of her success was because Ann Sullivan trained her rather than watch her do whatever she wanted. She equipped Helen for society.

            Even before children are age two they are trainable. They know when they are whining, begging, pulling on you, etc. When my children were one I trained them that if they were whining and crying it was in their crib. They could come out when happy. They learned the concept! Little children are to be trained. Ironically, if you need ideas often the information on training puppies can be used!

            You need to train children who are able to go to others’ homes without thinking they have the right to open every cupboard and drawer and take things out and throw things around.  At home, put a lot of things your children are allowed to touch and go into, and keep things that are “no” – when children learn boundaries at home, when they go out they are not crossing boundaries others have.

4.         See the bigger picture. You may not mind picking up all the crumbs and fingerprints and drips your child leaves as they travel around your house with their crumbly donuts and juice. But others will, I assure you. Get your child trained so they have snack times at certain times (not just all day), and that they sit down to enjoy their food and drink and not just wander around with them. Healthier attitude towards food; AND, when you visit others, their furnishings, cupboards and windows don’t have to take a beating!

            You may not mind if your children break their toys or crayons or throw things. But at school and playing with others, no one is going to appreciate your lack of training.

5.         Practice, practice, practice! Remember, children take a lot longer to train than baby birds: that is why they are with you 18-20 years and not just a season! Be patient! Enjoy the process!

            If you are having problems with your children coming when called, practice practice practice at home! Call them and make them come: 50 times, 100 times, until they get it. It is for their good! Keep at it! Remember… it takes a LOT of time to TRAIN children!

            If they aren’t sleeping at night, practice practice practice. Consistency is the key. Get tips from mothers that have walked the path before you effectively. Use the ones that work with your child and their personality and your situations; discard the others. Many well meaning moms have tips that won’t be useful to you! You’ll know which is which!

            Sometimes you will see the biggest issues your child is going to deal with. It is great if you can train them to be victorious in those areas. I had a child that couldn’t concentrate because so many things were going on in their head at the same time. I taught them to picture “drawers” and close all the drawers except the one thing they needed to concentrate on.  Work on the things your child deals with!

            If your child asks inappropriately, sasses or yells, turn the timer on starting with how many minutes for how old they are, and then allow them to ask again. Then if they do it again the same day, set the timer for the original minutes +1 and keep doing that until they get it right.

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