Children and Behavior: What Are We Teaching Them?


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School is out for the summer and children everywhere are running, jumping, and playing…oh, wait. That could be wrong. I personally know of two children who are fighting over whose turn it is to play a video game. This has been going on all summer and as their mother, I sure do wish they would figure out how to work it out. So, how do I, as one of the adults in the house, help them with that?

It seems as though parents are often the biggest contributors to their children’s behavioral problems. More and more, parents choose to say nothing to children who are misbehaving or choose to distract them instead of teaching them how to work things out. This teaches them nothing.

So many parents put their kids in front of the TV or buy them “things” to keep them occupied instead of interacting with them or giving them more responsibility. In our house, we limit the amount of TV and computer game time for our kids to 2 hours a day. Now, to some people, 2 hours a day of TV and computer game time might seem like it’s too much, however, in our house that’s the first privilege that’s taken away when we discipline them. (In fact, right away this morning, which is Monday, this privilege was taken away for the whole week. )

The kids also have daily jobs to teach them responsibility. Every day, they have to get their jobs done or they can forget about their 2 hours.

When they fight, we have a conversation about it. I use some of my coaching techniques on them, which usually works. Occasionally, they have to think about it for several minutes, which is also good because then they come up with their own solutions.

As a mother, sometimes I feel as though I am one of the few parents (besides my husband) who discipline my kids or show them how to behave. A couple of weekends ago, I had a talk with someone else’s child who was doing something she shouldn’t have been doing – and her parents said absolutely nothing to her. They also said nothing to me when they found out I told her that her behavior was irresponsible and inappropriate. Imagine that?

Now, having said all of this, I have seen some parents teach their kids proper behavior – and I love hearing their techniques. One family I know shared this technique: every time their daughter treats their son badly, she has to write “I will not be mean to my brother” 25 times. The next time she does it it’s 50 times, then 75 times, and so on. What a great idea – it seems to be working well for them.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not the perfect parent – by far. However, I do try to make sure my husband and I teach our children how to solve their problems, how to behave properly, and how to communicate effectively. These are simple guidelines that we could all use.

The point here is that we as parents must help our children find their way through childhood. We are the adults here. They are counting on us to share our wisdom.

Wendi Moore-Buysse works with business professionals who want to learn how to market to women. She coaches, teaches, and consults with women who want to develop intuition and who want to develop leadership skills. Her books from the Life’s Little Cheat Sheets Series, including “Shifting Gears: Get Moving in the Right Direction", are available through her website. “Shifting Gears" includes ways to shift your focus from what you don’t want to what you do want (which includes children and family life). Visit for more information and to read her Life's Little Cheat Sheets blog.


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