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How to connect with your child and redirect their behavior in a positive way?

Everything begins with the connection you build with your children.

There is no effective behavior redirection without a genuine connection with your son or daughter. It takes more than threats for your child to want to behave in the expected manner, for the right reasons. In the book, 'Discipline Without Tears: An Essential Guide to Nurturing and Supporting Your Child's Mental Development,' Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson explain that 'punishments and punitive reactions often prove to be counterproductive, not only in terms of brain development but also when it comes to getting children to cooperate.

child alone
Discipline with love

We've all made mistakes when it comes to disciplining at some point. We've been too harsh, and then we feel bad about our rigid stance. If you've felt this way, it means you know there's another way to discipline that doesn't involve punishment. It's through a secure connection, a relationship of trust, and displays of affection that your child's brain develops. In simple terms, the more love, the more likely your child will develop a healthy self-esteem, a healthy brain capable of making healthy decisions, and building healthy relationships. Love is never too much. I'd like to delve deeper into brain development, but I want to share other important aspects with you: how to connect with your son or daughter and how to redirect their behavior.

How to Connect with Your Child and Redirect

Connecting with your child is essential for their development. From the moment your child is born, their brain starts creating neural connections through their interaction with you, other people, and the world around them. As their first caregiver and provider of nourishment, you begin to form that special bond, attachment. Your child quickly identifies you as a safe place where their needs are met. During the first twelve months, creating this connection is relatively easy. It's around fifteen months that your child begins to develop curiosity and autonomy, which can test your patience because they become much more mobile and agile. When your child reaches preschool age, you might feel like you have a teenager in your house, wanting to assert their will. After seven years, your child may start getting upset, slamming their room door. And let's not even talk about adolescence; your child wants to play video games all day and days go by without them taking a shower. Your young adult might still be undecided about their career path. The connection with your child can vary in each stage of their development, just like the methods you use.

There are certain general strategies you can use at each stage.

  1. Show affection. Affection is not just said but also shown. You can tell your child that you love them just the way they are, but then you tell them that their hair is a mess because they didn't comb it before going to school.

  2. Ask "What" or "Why." Over the years, I've heard the question "What's wrong with you?" over and over again, and it's a question that implies that there's something wrong with the person. That they are a problem. I invite you, when your child exhibits inappropriate behavior, to ask them, "What's happening?" or "What happened?" For example, if your child hits their sister, ask, "It seems like you're upset, what happened? Why are you upset?" Understanding your child is the beginning of the connection, and then you can correct them, not punish. Siegel and Bryson (2018) also suggest asking yourself, "How/Which?" How can I teach or what is the best way to teach?

  3. Coach's Stance. Don't tell them what to do in response to the problem or situation. Once you understand the "why" behind the behavior, redirect the behavior by exploring their options. Let them think of more than one alternative and decide for themselves. Allow them to fail and show a willingness to help when they seek your support.

Connecting with your child and redirecting their behavior in a positive way shouldn't be extremely difficult. That's why I want you to break away from all the previous thought patterns that punishment equals discipline. The goal of these strategies is to help your child be happy and self-sufficient. To teach them to create and maintain healthy relationships, not through threat and fear. We want them to learn how to resolve conflicts and problems.

On November 15, 2023, I'll be offering a completely FREE webinar at 12 P.M. where I'll talk about respectful parenting and its long-term benefits.

If you want Parenting Coaching, you can schedule your appointment here. I help you apply the concepts of respectful parenting.

I invite you to watch this very informative video to start applying concepts of Respectful Parenting.

Referencia: Siegel, D. J., & Bryson, T. P. (2018). Disciplina Sin Lágrimas: Una guía imprescindible para orientar y alimentar el desarrollo mental de tu hijo.

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