Build self-esteem and create a positive environment through consistency.
Consistency is imperative as children grow and learn! For kids, inconsistency creates anxiety. Consistency is a key learning tool for your child. Consistency offers a positive environment for building self-confidence. Self-confidence builds self-esteem. When children don’t know what is going to happen next or how their parents are going to react, they learn to live with anxiety. They learn that the world is unpredictable and adult responses are unpredictable. As a result, some children and parents may use inappropriate behaviors.
Avoid Fighting: sibling rivalry
“Stop touching me!” “Give that back!” “Knock it off!” “Mom, Dad, she won’t leave me alone!”
When brothers and sisters lock horns, what starts out as something minor can end in fighting, either physically and/or verbally.
How do you work it out?
- Simply ‘avoid’ negative situations. Recognize the warning signs when someone is getting angry such as raising the voice or pointing an angry finger…and walk away!
- Recognize boundaries and set boundaries. Use your words first to let someone who is deliberately provoking you with words or actions to stop. If the person continues then your child’s boundary has been crossed. This says your child is being disrespected and it is time for them to go to an adult for help.
- Praise a child for learning to cope and problem solve in positive ways.
Patience: back talking and attitude
All emotions are acceptable, but all behaviors are not! Accepting our own emotions is essential but acting them out is not acceptable because there is the risk of acting them out in unhealthy ways.
How do you develop patience?
- Identify your feelings. If you are about to let off steam…pause and acknowledge your feelings to yourself at the moment of anger or frustration.
- Pause, breathe, and think. If you reach the point of anger, that’s your internal sign to take some deep breaths and think how to best deal with a situation. These are your ‘calming tools.’ Without these tools it will be difficult to solve the problem effectively because the adrenalin rush won’t let you access the part of the brain that can make good decisions.
- Let go of worry. Worrying makes you anxious. Anxiety builds stress. Stress can lead to negativity. Positive thinking leads to positive outcome. Negative thoughts and actions diminish our patience. Uh-oh! Here comes the yelling, back talking, and swearing!
How can you nurture a positive environment that builds self-esteem and self-confidence?
- Give your child some power. Provide opportunities for your child to assume control of their own world. That can be as simple as letting them pick out their own outfit for the day, or planning a dinner meal, or planning an outing. The more positive power you give then the less negative behavior will be exhibited.
- Limit ordering, directing, and correcting. Find alternate ways to get cooperation such as a ‘trade off.’ If they do something you ask of them…you will agree to something they desire.
- Pay attention! Give 10 minutes of uninterrupted attention time, at least twice a day. Your cell phone can go to voicemail!
- Set very clear rules and very clear consequences. The rules should not be overly harsh or strict. Try to make the punishment fit the crime. If they watch more than the allotted amount of TV, then you subtract the overage from their next TV time. If they didn’t complete a chore, then remove a privilege.
- Keep cool! Kids love to get a rise out of you! Don’t give them the satisfaction. Don’t get into a power struggle. Walk away because when there is no one to fight with, there’s no fight!