Explain why you say no. Don’t say: “Because I said so!” They want and deserve an explanation. Explaining to your child why you want them to do something, or why you don’t want them to do something, explains the value of it. Once your child understands your reason, they are more likely to accept it. Don’t give your child reason to regard you as mean, or question your motives and values. By communicating openly with your child, you prepare them to be well-balanced, emotionally intelligent adults.
Make your expectations clear in a kind, non-judgmental manner. Reason with them instead of having angry outbursts. Ask them why they did what they did. Your child may tell you something you didn’t know. Ask whether they know why you said no so that they can learn to reason in a calm manner and in a calm environment. Listen when they speak. Ask questions about why they said what they said. Remember, you are teaching them how to get along with others and how to communicate successfully as adults. Model the behaviours you would like them to display.
Allow your child to make suggestions and to find solutions to their problems. Did you know that we use the frontal lobe of our brain to solve problems and to reason? Children can’t predict the consequences of their behaviour because the frontal lobe of their brain isn’t fully developed before the age of 23. You can help your child to develop their frontal lobe earlier so that they can begin to predict the consequences of their behaviour by forcing them to use it. For example, if your child threatens to hit another child, you can ask: “So, what do you think will happen if you hit him?” This question forces the child to use their frontal lobe, even if the answer isn’t what you want to hear. Teach them to use consequential thinking when making choices and decisions. Ask questions that will force your child to reason, even if they get it wrong. Don’t belittle them if they get it wrong. Instead tell them what may happen and why, so that they understand the possible consequences.
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