It is instinctive that we sometimes growl and punish our children when we think they have misbehaved. At that moment, we don’t really think and, often, we act as our parents acted with us, an attitude that can lead to frustration when opposing that idea that many parents have of not wanting to do things the way they did with them.

This frustration that many families create in having to deal with and how to deal with the rebellious behaviors of the little ones , makes us tend to think that absolutely obedient children are normal and the norm. However, that idea is quite far from reality. That is precisely why iron punishments are not usually a good way to make children understand that they have had bad behavior, because if they receive that punishment as something negative (which is quite likely if it is about punishments devoid of educational content, such as punishing a child in his room without going out), they will not have much reason to reflect on the importance of being good.


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In other words, all “punishment” should be reinforced by a stimulus and in many cases also by a reward, why not. It is very difficult to change behaviors deeply ingrained in ourselves, such as acting unwittingly as our parents did with us, which is why we should understand children a little more and be aware that modifying behavior is not something that can be done from one moment to another.

We all want to be good fathers and mothers, but we all make mistakes because it is inevitable. Thanks to them we can progress, and that is why the key to educating children begins with oneself. Certainly each one of us has his convictions and each child is different, just as it is also true that in life our actions always have consequences, and that is why it is good to teach this to children.


Consequences, understanding and communication

Today the sense of responsibility seems to be increasingly diluted, to such an extent that sometimes even professionals seem to give up on certain habits and / or childish behaviors . But what can be done about it? To begin with, and for a child to understand that his act or behavior is not correct, there must be a consequence, that is, we will not talk about punishment but about consequences. This simple linguistic change can allow us to be clearer on the subject and eliminate threats and fear in the family environment.

The younger the child, the more direct the consequence should be. This means that it should be almost instantaneous , because young children only understand the moment and the present, and will not understand what it is if the consequence is delayed or prolonged. Here we add two common examples that will help you understand everything better:



  • Example number one: excited and nervous children

A child is excited and as a result is aggressive, unpleasant, speaks badly … in short, does not behave in a correct way. What do we do in this case? The first consequence may be to send the child to a quiet corner to think about what he has done (it is not a confinement, but to seek peace, reflection and tranquility after a bad action and after an excess more than probable of uncontrolled emotion in a “space or thought chair”). We will explain to the child that his attitude is not appropriate and that it is not pleasant, and he will have to remain alone for a moment to try to calm down.


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Yes, it can happen that the child refuses, and if this happens we will take him to the quiet corner firmly, but without shouting or violence. For that we will have to avoid uncontrolled anger and calm ourselves. Being somewhat isolated, the child will most likely calm down.

In case this does not happen and a nervous breakdown occurs, we will have to think that it is likely that the child has experienced some feeling that they cannot handle, so we must teach them how to deal with this with a different behavior: with comfort , with support and talking about what is wrong . Our attentive presence will most likely reassure the child, and that reassurance will allow us to teach that there is another way of doing things.



  • Example number two: rebellious teens

Take as an example of another possible situation where a young child spoils or “breaks something.” In this case we will seek with him the means to repair the damage. When the child is a little older, the consequences may also be different, since they will be able to understand the instructions and be able to respect them more easily. An example that we all know is that a teenager does not return home at the appointed time. In this type of case we must make it clear that the established trust contract has been broken , rejecting or preventing the next exit as a consequence. The next departure may also be allowed, but returning with the time in advance that was delayed the previous time. The trust contract may be reestablished when he or the young person demonstrates that they can get home on time and comply with the established pacts.

It is very important that when we notice that the child in question is making efforts to improve, we tend to talk to him or her, to encourage him, or even to reward him. In this way children can see that their efforts are useful and will be motivated to do better next time. With regard to adults, to create a complicity that allows us to get to know each other better (we do not always know what is going on in our children’s heads) and to better understand the reasons for certain behaviors , we must focus and discover what things they like, with what activities do they enjoy … basing the rewards on these activities (which will require more time as a family) will be a good dynamic to ward off bad synergies and bad behaviors from the family and also to avoid, thanks to communication, that many occur .

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