If your child feels confident he’ll develop a positive attitude towards life. He will want to take risks and not fear failure. The purpose of using consequences is to allow your child to develop ‘self-control’. Each situation can be valuable learning if handled with care.
How many of you have ventured out for a movie that you really didn’t want to miss for anything and of course you over-estimated your child’s capacity to sit in a dark room without uttering a word. This is a classic case of over expectation from your three year old child. Once bitten twice shy can be aptly applied to the situation. However, you may not be able to resist testing this situation again. One option is to test your child again, after reminding the child of what behavior you expect from him before the situation. Let’s see how you can carry out your movie venture successfully.
Remember, each moment brings with it a new chance to experience success. It is essential to discipline, but equally important to build your child’s sense of ‘self worth’.
Be specific and concrete in your example, such as, ‘I want you to sit quietly during the movie. Give me a cue or whisper if you need to tell me something. Please don’t talk in a loud voice because others in the theatre won’t be able to hear the movie?’ Your experiment ends when you come out of the theatre all smiles (out of relief!) as your talk worked. As an adult, be sure that you are not expecting too much from your child. For example don’t expect your three years old to sit through a 3 hours movie. Instead choose a short cartoon or a animal movie, that will capture your child’s interest. Temperaments differ from child to child so try and customize it to your child and see what works best with him.
Quick Reckoners in building expectations:
- Establish the ground rules and do not forget stating the positive and negative consequences of your expectations.
- The negative consequence should be age appropriate and closely related to the child’s misbehavior.
- Try to phrase the consequences such that his behavior determines the consequences and not ‘you’. For example – you could tell him – ‘If you stay silent, you’ll get to watch the movie, otherwise we’ll have to leave for home and come back whenever you are able to stay silent while watching the movie.’
- State the consequence and make it matter-of-fact, so that the consequence appears to be a natural outcome and not the consequences of your anger.
- On returning home and when he is a little settled you could encourage him by saying, ‘we can try going for a movie when you are a little older.’
Coming up next – ‘When your child doesn’t act his age’.