Something might have happen to you is more appropriate than angrily declaring “Late again! I’m not surprised , because you are so irresponsible and immature. You’ll never amount to anything. The First response is a simple statement of fact that faults the behavior, while the second response erodes self-esteem by demanding the child. In a healthy family, the child is always loved even if the child’s behavior is unacceptable.
In an unhealthy family the child is shamed and the person is confused with the behavior. Separating the behavior from the person is a powerful way to express unconditional love. The unconditional love conveys this feeling: ” I love you with no strings attached, regardless of how you behave. This doesn’t mean I always accept you as a person”.
Have rules that are age-appropriate and be flexible about rule making.
That may be a part of had in mind when advised to parents: “Do not exasperate your children”. The fact is many family conflicts could be erased and be eliminated if parents would be certain that the rules are age-appropriate. For example very young children need to have a specific bedtime that is constantly enforced, while older children can have a later one with some flexibility.
Brainstorm together for solutions
Involving children in seeking solutions to sources of conflict develops maturity in the child as well as demonstrating that their opinion is respected. Brainstorming with children is a technique recommended by therapists. “To avoid a win/lose atmosphere of my idea versus your idea, come up with at least three alternatives. When choices are limited to two , polarities are seen right/wrong, good/bad, smart/dumb. Be sure to develop fail-safes for what will happen if the agreement is broken or someone doesn’t follow through(not a punishment, just an action that everyone agrees is respectful to all.
Give Positive feedback
While children need to be informed about what is unacceptable or inappropriate behavior , they also need to be given credit for the good conduct they exhibit. Giving positive feedback not only lets a child know that the parents notices and appreciates good behavior, but is a way of balancing criticism offered on other occasions. The best positive feedback is specific
“I was proud of the way you comforted your little sister when she fell down and hurts himself.”
“I like the fact that you don’t fall apart when you make a mistake. We all learn from our mistakes. You don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. That’s Terrific!
“I appreciate very much the fact that you always come home on time. You are so responsible about your commitment that I don’t worry about your being late or violating the curfew”.