“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”.- Frederick Douglass
Rohan is less restless now yet sits in one place while doing his homework.
Vedika never goes to sleep without brushing her teeth at night.
Ajay has started keeping his room clean.
Can we relate? Yes! These are some of the behaviors that parents tirelessly wish to inculcate in their children for their better development as an individual.
Parents are the first mentor of the child and have an immense contribution and responsibility in shaping a child’s behavior. They play an important role in encouraging and motivating their kids to learn and children acquire skills at the very early stage of their life if the parents are responsive and understanding.
I personally believe that a parent is a mirror to the child. Children behave, react and imitate same as their parents. Children are not born knowing what acceptable and unacceptable behavior is. They learn by watching how one around them behaves and how one gets treated. A parent’s day-to-day behavior, from the way they drive to the tone of their voice, is shaping the way a child will act for the rest of their life. Thus, a child tries to emulate his parents and other elders in the family.
Shaping a child’s behavior is a key part of being a parent which can be difficult yet rewarding. It should be noted that shaping of behavior leads to effective habit building, eventually leading to the holistic development of the child. Shaping is a great way to help children learn new behaviors and it is a step by step process which leads to the enhancement of skills and everyday behavior that goes a long way in building and strengthening a child’s personality making him a complete individual.
Let’s glance through some effective ways or activities that parents can use in shaping a child’s behavior from a very early age (starting from 3 years and continuing thereafter) and the ultimate formation of habits:
- Praise the child– It is important to praise the child when we catch them doing the right thing. The praise should denote that his/her right actions are approved which goes a long way in shaping their behavior.
- Use positive attention and ignoring– Attention should be given when the child is behaving respectfully and slight ignorance can be used during mild misbehavior.
- Pre-teaching a child is the key– Pre-teaching provides your child with an explanation of what behavior is expected of him.
- Teach kids what to do– Parents should focus on teaching the desired behavior. They should come up with positive alternatives to behavior, they want to extinguish in the child.
- Create a reward system– This is a great way to shape child’s behavior. Parents should not focus on perfection rather rewarding close approximations of desired behavior. This boosts the child to be better each time to get the reward.
- Tit for tat– This activity is related to misbehavior and can be a great tool in shaping behavior. The parent can sometimes take away the privilege of the child for them to follow a certain rule or act mannerly.
“Children become what they are told they are.”- Dorothy Delay
Children need to be taught and molded into better humans from an early age for their holistic development. They are like that soft wet mud that needs to be given shape to make them enduring and stand the test of ‘societal norms’. Acquiring good habits or manners are part of the learning process. Parents can make the learning exciting and fun by interacting with their children and trying to be encouraging and affectionate while teaching good habits to their kids. It is true that parenting is nothing short of a challenging experience and definitely not a smooth road. However, one should be mindful of the fact that being too strict or too easy isn’t going to help rather finding a balance is the best way to handle any situation. A child’s good habits always begin at home and it is because of this foundation he/she turns into a promising and well balanced human being.