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Archive for the ‘Behavior’ Category

Five Ways to Discourage Children from Lying

Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and member of The Goddard School Educational Advisory Board, offers five ways to discourage children from lying.

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  1. Keep your cool when your child lies. Try to say ‘Oh,’ or ‘Okay,’ to give yourself some time to think about what to say next. Something like ‘I wonder what happened to the flowers’ works better than ‘Whoever did this had better tell the truth (‘or else!’ is implied).’ This strategy makes it easier for children to be truthful and improves your chances of hearing the truth later as they will feel less intimidated.
  2. Calmly, try to help your child understand why he lied and what he can do next time to avoid lying.
  3. Explain to your child that it’s okay to make a mistake and that she doesn’t have to lie about it. Also remember to praise your child for admitting that she made a mistake. Lying lessens when it’s safe to tell the truth.
  4. When you are on the fence about whether or not to believe your preschooler, err on the side of believing that your child is telling the truth. Or his version of it. After all, imagination is a powerful and creative force that might cause a child to tell a lie that he thinks is true. For example, a child might claim that there is a monster in the closet when that obviously isn’t true.
  5. Be aware that you are under constant scrutiny and that the ‘innocent’ white lie that you can’t make a donation to a charitable organization because you don’t have any cash, for instance, will be noticed by your child. Set a good example and remember that the truth starts at home.

Creating Confidence in Children

Instilling confidence in young children helps them develop their social skills and a sense of self-worth.  When we feel good about ourselves it shows; situations seem easier to handle and we communicate in a more upbeat and positive manner. That positivity can spread to others. Smiles are contagious!

Children need to feel validated and loved. Their parents’ positive reinforcement and encouragement helps them gain confidence, and once they are in school, educators and peers also influence their self-worth.  How children feel affects how children act.

Model Confidence

Our children are in tune with our actions, so what we feel and perceive can influence our The Goddard Schoolchildren. A positive self-image provides a strong example to children and helps them feel good about the world. Since children can mirror our behavior, we need to lead by example and model confidence. Bad days happen, and sometimes we feel overwhelmed or down for no reason. When we feel unhappy, it is a good idea to remind children that challenges are a part of life, and we feel happy and fulfilled on most days. If we aren’t happy, we owe it to ourselves and our children to seek out ways to feel fulfilled and joyful, which may include reading, meditating, exercising or listening to music.

Instill a Positive Self-Image

Parents influence their children’s sense of self-worth. Our children should like who they are and feel comfortable in their own skins.  Children should feel as though their voices will be heard and as though they can make a difference in the world.  We help them develop a healthy sense of self-worth by acknowledging their strengths and the qualities that make them unique. Everyone seeks praise and responds positively to compliments. Children develop a positive self-image when their parents acknowledge their strengths, trust in their abilities and see mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth.

Know Your Child’s Friends and Their Parents

The people around us can affect how we act.  Our values may differ from other parents’ and children’s values.  Part of our job as parents is to get to know our children’s friends and their parents, and observe any behavioral changes in our children, positive or negative.  We can’t always choose who our children befriend, but we can encourage them to play with children who will make them happy.  Make time to talk to other parents at your school’s drop-off or pick-up times. Talk to your children about their play dates, and pay attention to their attitudes afterward. Are they smiling and excited about the fun they had, or are they withdrawn?

Express, Don’t Suppress, Feelings

Children need to be able to express how they feel, but also able to control their tempers. Suppressing feelings does not help children deal with the issue and keeps them from learning how to communicate effectively with others.  Finding the right balance is difficult, but if we model healthy ways to talk about our feelings, children will learn how to express how they feel in a mature, controlled and age-appropriate manner.

Build Confidence with The Goddard School

At The Goddard School, our talented teachers collaborate with parents to nurture children into respectful, confident and joyful learners.  We are committed to teaching children about compassion, cooperation and the significance of giving back to their community. We pride ourselves in collaborating with the best educational and child development organizations to provide children with the skills they need for long-term success in school and life.

Taming the Tantrums

One of the truly gnarly limit-pushers is the temper tantrum.  These are the hallmark of the self-control wars in the early years.  They are distinct from the gut-wringing cries of the sick, wet, desperately hungry, or physically hurt infant or pre-toddler.  But they can look similar, and you can feel even more helpless.

Family - Teacher with Parent & ChildTantrums start to occur in that period of development when the “me do” surge for autonomy becomes increasingly frustrated by the parent who knows the toddler’s abilities are still so limited that trouble lurks behind most corners.  So when the child’s limited ability frustrates a particular goal, or a parent intervenes to rein her in, the internal frustrations can erupt into a screaming, kicking, crying rage.

Every time you help you child recover from such a debacle without humiliation or irrational punishment, she learns that her impulses cannot destroy her world and that you can help her learn how to manage this tiger, the way you did the other tigers of her early years – being left alone, being helplessly hungry, etc.

Finally, two pieces of advice about limit setting and self-control that are hard for many parents to remember.  When setting limits:

  • The fewer words the better.
  • Actions speak louder than words.

The Basics of Setting Limits

One of the strongest elements in maintaining limits is to reward good behavior.  Your approval and support mean the world to a toddler looking to you for a smile.  The more time your child spends seeking – and getting – your approval for the right things, the less time he will spend on the wrong things.

Family - Father DaughterHowever, the wrong things will happen.  It’s an inevitable part of how children learn.  No doubt you already have been amazed at what a master your little one can be.  It often seems that children can home in on a hot button or weak moment with laser-like precision.  To them, this all seems like fun.  And it is.  Learning how “buttons” on people work is just as fascinating a discovery – and just as important – as learning how buttons on a toy work.  For us, however, it’s another matter.

Understanding motivation or intent when your toddler/preschooler does something unacceptable can help relieve your anger and frustration and open the door to a more constructive reaction.  The best response in this case would be teaching, not punishment.