• For Love's Sake

Q2) What are the best practices of correcting a child's behaviour when they do something wrong?

Every child is different in the way they learn. Applying what others did that was helpful to their children might not work as well for your children. Even within the same family, what works for one child might not work for the other. Parents who spent enough time with their children will know how our children learn best.

I can only speak in general terms. There are two ways to help children learn right behaviours. One is to look for all the wrong behaviours to correct them. The other is to look for what they have done well and affirm them. If all we did is to correct wrong behaviours, eventually you would have demotivated or discouraged your child. On the other hand, most children become more motivated when adults notice their right behaviours and affirm them. Children do live up to your expectations. Your words are powerful in shaping your child’s self concept. If all our engagement with our children is in the context of discipline, this child might lose motivations to make any effort to change.

Having said that, when a correction is needed, it is helpful to:

a. give your child the benefit of the doubt

b. state the desired behaviour and the benefits of that behaviour

c. express confidence that your child can learn this behaviour

d. celebrate with your child when he/she is actually making progress

This answer is written by Edwin Choy, the co-founder of Centre for Fathering. He has been married for 33 years to Lay Koon and is a father of 4 children from 21-29. Edwin’s work involves preparing couples for marriage, counselling, giving talks and conducting workshops on marriage enrichment, parenting, fathering, work-life balance and solution focused programmes for the work place. He also appeared numerous times on radio and conferences to speak to thousands on fathering and parenting issues in Singapore.

Do you have a question for him? Leave a comment below.

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