The children learn control of impulse gradually. For a two-year-old, they will have temper tantrums. For a three years old it may even be pushing, quarrelling, hitting, being physical to get their way. They are trying to know their limits. The art of controlling the impulses is still a long road for them to walk. Simultaneously by showing his or her misbehaviour, they simply test your limits too.
To assess your own method of dealing with misbehaviour five basic rules to follow.
- Observe what your child is doing wrong.
- The circumstances when the misbehaviour occurs.
- How often does this misbehaviour occur?
- What is your response to the misbehaviour?
- Is your reaction consistent or varies often?
The assessment will guide you to deal with each misbehaviour. It is up you to set what your limits are and decide your parenting style. Please be careful to be fairly consistent in whatever approach you have chosen. Otherwise, it confuses the kid.
I could clearly see this method was a failure. It became more of a power struggle. The second method I adopted was to ignore. This approach is called Extinction technique: To ignore the misbehaviour of the kid systematically. The strategy worked for both of us, but not overnight. It had exuded from me a lot of patience and grit to stay put all these months. I have received glares from strangers and public admonishing from seniors as an overindulging parent. The process was slow tedious but fruitful at the end. It took a period of around 2 to 3 months to stop entirely. The first sign of the strategy working was the frequency of spitting reducing slowly. She understood this spitting business would not make her achieve what she wants. Gradually she forgot the spitting habit and even if she finds some other kids using the strategy she is not tempted to use it. One obvious reason is she knows it will not work with her parents. I have learnt a valuable lesson of parenting. The first being not to consider it as a power struggle. Second is patience with stubborn kids works wonders.