January 29, 2023

Parents who raise ‘confident, smart and empathetic’ children do these 5 things when their kid misbehaves

As a parent, one of the most impactful things you can do is acknowledge your kids’ achievements and healthy habits. This is when you put your empathy muscles to work to encourage good behavior, self-confidence and self-worth in your kids.

It’s important to accept, however, that no one is born perfect — your child will ultimately make bad choices. It’s how you handle and respond to the situation that determines whether or not they’ll make better decisions and develop healthy habits going forward.

Here’s what parents who raise confident, smart and empathetic kids do when their kids behaves:

1. They focus on their child’s behavior

Complimenting specific behaviors is better than complimenting the kid as a whole person. It’s the difference between saying, “You’re are such a good kid!” and “You did such a great job putting your toys back in the cubby!”

This way, children are not always under the microscope of being classified as “good” or “bad” kids. They are critiqued for their behaviors, which can be changed to meet expectations.

The flip side should be fairly obvious: It’s better to criticize children’s behavior than to criticize the child as a person. 

For example, you would say, “I didn’t like that you hit your baby brother. That was not a nice thing to do,” rather than saying, “You are a bad brother.”

We hope that children will conclude there are better options to consider in the future. We know and they know that they are capable of better choices.

2. They use guilt, not shame

3. They build self-worth

Grant recommends that before toddlers evolve into preschoolers, we should ask them to be helpers. Involving your children in your daily tasks provides them with self-compassion and makes them feel like they have something meaningful to offer.

You can enhance your child’s identity by asking questions such as “Will you be a sharer? A carer? A caring person? Can you play with your baby brother for 10 minutes to help mommy?”

I wish I had done this with my children when they were young. By the time I started asking for help around the house when they were around nine years old, it was too late. There were battles because they were not accustomed to helping at all. 

Learn from my mistake: Start asking for assistance with simple tasks at an early stage. 

4. They discuss emotions

5. They avoid bribery