Q. My 4 year old child will never do what is expected of him


Lauren Colvin Power of Postive Parenting and Teaching

Parents often need individual support around dealing with different areas of their child’s development. Behaviour is something that many parents and teachers face challenges with. When we are stressed and upset it makes dealing with difficult situations even more challenging. In order to help create a calm mood between you and your child you could ask for a hug and let him know how much you love him. Then you could ask if you could share with him something that is upsetting you.

In my classroom we have what is called class meetings, during which we discuss our individual problems and brainstorm solutions together. You can use this idea at home and have family meetings based around an agenda that everyone can add their problems to daily. This is a great opportunity whilst there is a calmer mood between you and your child to discuss problems. It is much more beneficial to deal with these matters when the people involved are feeling calmer and therefore more willing to cooperate, as opposed to during times of upset when the parties involved are stressed and defensive. You can list all of your ideas and then choose your favourite options to try out. Bear in mind the ideas that you choose must be respectful; this is not about punishment but about finding solutions.

A good way to deal with morning or daily routines, is to put in place a visual timetable. You and your son can make it together, showing the different events of the day and the order in which they need to be carried out. You could put this idea forward during your family meeting. It's important to have faith in your children's capabilities, they are great problem solvers, often better than ourselves. When children feel respected and involved they are more likely to cooperate as opposed to constantly being yelled at and told what to do. Acknowledging and appreciating that children’s priorities will more likely than not be very different from your own, helps you to reach a respectful solution to the problem.

It is crucial that you make time for training, to enable children the opportunity to refine their skills and gain a clear understanding of your expectations so that they can manage them successfully. This also relates to getting dressed, children often act up and try to avoid this activity when they find it difficult and stressful. Providing lots of time for your child to get ready and time to practise helps them to feel more confident and overcome this obstacle. It is kind and respectful to offer children choices, however these choices must be limited and realistic. A good example of this is offering 2 options for breakfast such as cereal or toast or whatever you know your child likes and you have time for in the mornings. If you offer children unlimited choices it is completely unrealistic, not respectful towards yourself and also offers no clear guidance or boundaries for your child to respond to. Try to keep a balance between kindness and firmness in whatever approaches you use.


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