10 mistakes that prevent a child from accepting and following rules


Rules are agreements that help people coexist most comfortably with each other and maintain friendly relations. We set rules in all unacceptable situations: when a child draws on the walls, tries to pour water on the floor, runs into the apartment in street shoes, or scatters all the things from his mother’s drawer.

The algorithm for establishing rules is simple, but despite all this simplicity, mistakes can be made. As a result, the baby will continue to cause chaos and disobey, and the parents will be forced to indulge or punish. This will deteriorate the relationship even more, and life together will become uncomfortable.

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We suggest you look into the most common mistakes when setting rules so that they work.
Educational uncertainty

Children need guidance from an authoritative adult. And it is important that parents under no circumstances remove this function from themselves. Otherwise, children are left without a sense of protection and support.

The desire to give the best to your baby often leads to educational uncertainty. The parent always thinks: “Did I do the right thing?”, “Couldn’t I have done something better?” The child reads this anxiety and is deprived of a sense of security, because he needs a confident adult - who knows what he is doing.

We make rules for the benefit of children. Who, if not mom and dad, will introduce them to this world: what is possible and what is not; what is dangerous and what is safe; what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. If parents do not teach rules of behavior, then sooner or later children will still receive unkind feedback from the outside world. And it will almost certainly lead to conflict, resentment or disappointment.
How to set rules for a child carefully, without scandals and shouting, and come to an understanding with him, we tell you in the mini-course for parents “Without Punishment”
Vivid emotions when setting rules

If a mother constantly breaks down at the child’s unacceptable behavior, then he gets hooked on these outbursts of emotions. In the future, he may deliberately break the rules in order to get at least some kind of strong reaction. When the parent behaves calmly and kindly, the child perceives the process of establishing rules as a routine. This removes much of the confrontation and reduces the number of protests.

It is more useful to leave strong emotions for the child’s positive behavior, and in situations of violation of the rules to remain friendly and calm - to convey help, support and care. This is helped by understanding that young children never want anything bad. If they draw on the wall or rummage through the trash, it's not because they want to add more work to mom. But because there is a need to develop, to become more and more mature.

Kids are looking for activities in which they can gain new developmental experience. Essentially, they are busy doing a good thing, but they can’t always figure out the right way. Therefore, it is important to think about how our sudden prohibition looks through a child’s eyes: there was a goal, the child strived for this goal, and the parent interrupted and prevented him.

child pours sand Mom: “Why does he pour sand on the bags? Then we’ll have to collect it, we’ll have to ban it.” Son: “What an interesting sound when sand pours onto a bag. And if I pour faster or more, the sound changes. I sprinkle it on the grass - one sound, and on the bags - another.”

But with all our goodwill, we act firmly and confidently. We show that we know for sure that you cannot throw soil out of a flower pot or pour milk into a bowl of soup.

Then the child reads:

     confidence - he sincerely believes his mother and knows that she understands life better than him;
     support and understanding - his mother remains on his side.

As an example, take the case of our graduate Kristina Belyakova.

We have a desk next to the sofa and my daughter Olivia (1.5 years old) climbs onto the sofa and from it to the table. She has had the habit of sitting and standing on the table since infancy. I admit, it was our parental oversight that we allowed this to happen.

Six months ago it was cute and convenient - the child sat on the table and took apart pens and pencils and put them in a glass. Now it started to look strange.

To wean me off, I used to say different things:

     that this is impossible and she might fall;
     that the table will break;
     at the table we write;
     let's get down, otherwise dad will see and curse, this is his table.

She took her daughter in her arms and lowered her down to the floor, or sat her on her lap and let her draw, opened her laptop - did everything so that she would not start being capricious because I forbade her to climb on the table. Now I’m writing this and I understand that my daughter is a complete mess in her head about this table and that for her it has already become like a game.

But today, for the first time, I did the right thing - I stopped her. She looked calmly and set a rule:

“Olivia, you can’t put your feet on the table.” It's dangerous because you might fall. We are sitting at the table.

Then she took it and lowered it to the floor. And I immediately felt like a terrible mother because I had offended her. I so wanted to feel sorry and lisp

with her. But I pulled myself together - I was neutral and went about my business, quietly watching my daughter. Olivia cried a little, or rather didn’t even cry, but squeezed the crying out of herself. Then she stood and watched how I reacted. I saw that I didn’t react at all. She stood there a little longer and then went to her toys.

2 weeks have passed since I first forbade my child to climb on the table. For the first week, my daughter consistently violated the ban once a day. And I was consistently calm and firm in my prohibition. After all, a rule is a rule. And it is important that the adult follows this sequence of actions - this will help the child to understand, get used to and know exactly how to behave correctly and how not. If an adult does not follow his own rule and acts differently every time, then how can a child understand how to act?

If my daughter’s reaction was very emotional - she could cry and get angry, then I would sit in front of her, take her hands and say:

- Olive, I understand you’re offended, but you can’t climb on the table! Let's go pour some fresh water into Nessie's bowl, shall we?

By doing so, I let my daughter know that I was not abandoning her and that I understood her feelings. And then she switched her attention to something more interesting. All children react negatively to the ban. No one likes it when their freedom is limited. This reaction is absolutely normal, and now I don’t feel bad when I forbid it.

And gradually the reaction ceased to be so emotional at all. Now my daughter already knows that she can’t climb on the table. And just recently she again stretched from the sofa onto the table, I just wanted to object, so she slowed down, smiled at me, as if she said “I understand, mom,” and got off the sofa.”
Actions without thinking

With reactive behavior, when we instantly react to children’s actions, we can make mistakes in our conclusions:

     not understanding what is really happening;
     fail to think about what need is behind the behavior;
     fail to offer an acceptable alternative and leave the child with an unfulfilled need.

Therefore, before the ban, it is worth spending at least a few seconds to comprehend what is happening and answer yourself a few questions:

     What doesn't suit me about this behavior?
     What do I want him to do?
     What need is behind this behavior?
     What can I suggest instead of prohibiting actions?
     What will I do if he doesn't listen to me?

Let's say a child throws soil out of a pot. Mom might think like this:

“I don’t like that the floor is dirty and that the flower might die.” I want Sasha to stop doing this. Perhaps he enjoys the sensory sensation of the earth or the process of digging a hole. I can offer him to work out with kinetic sand (knead dough, go to the sandbox). If he doesn’t listen, I’ll put the flower out of reach and suggest that he find something else to do.

This approach will allow us to move to a position of cooperation - when the children’s interests and the mother’s interests are equally significant.
No contact with child

Before establishing a rule, you need to get in touch with the child. At the moment, he is enthusiastically busy doing something useful for himself and is not in the mood to perceive someone’s conversations. Therefore, our task is to attract attention as delicately but persistently as possible.

It’s one thing when we throw “ah-ah-ah” from top to bottom. It’s quite another thing if we get down to the child’s level, make eye contact and respectfully say: “Listen, I have something important to tell you.”

This is how a dialogue begins on equal terms - with the desire to come to some kind of friendly decision that will suit both.
A lot of words

Young children are not able to perceive a large amount of information. And if a stream of words falls on them, then nothing becomes clear. And if it is not clear what to observe, then how to comply?

The younger the baby, the more succinct and simple our messages should be. Without attempts to find out the motives of behavior, background stories, colorful descriptions and long thoughtful explanations.

For a two-year-old it will be enough:

- The flower will feel bad without land. I don't want him to get sick. You can dig holes in the sandbox.
No choice

Without an alternative activity, the child is deprived of the opportunity to fulfill his developmental needs. If he needs to practice his hand in digging a hole, he will not stop looking for this opportunity. Over time, he will just start doing it secretly. Or he will be completely disappointed and will not practice the required skill in a timely manner.

Giving a choice is a firm offer, not a question or order. And since this is a suggestion of a possible course of action, the baby is not obliged to agree with it. But if he follows this advice, then the need for restriction disappears.

If after our proposal the child does nothing, we formulate another alternative:

“You can dig holes in the sandbox or find something else to do.”

But if even after that he doesn’t listen, then we voice the ban:

— We don’t throw away the soil from the pot. If you continue, I will put the flower on the closet.

It is also necessary to provide equivalent alternatives so that in a new lesson you can use

it was necessary to repeat the actions of the previous one. But this option definitely won’t cover the need to develop your hand: “Either you stop digging holes, or I’ll put you in a corner.” Moreover, punishments do not work.
No control over compliance with the rule

After offering an alternative, we give a little time to comprehend the proposal and choose. And then we help the child follow this choice.

If we suggested: “You can dig holes in the sandbox or look for another activity,” and the baby did not go outside to get ready, it means that he is choosing to look for another activity.

Then we put the flower on the closet and say:

“I’ll have to remove the flower, and you go look for something else to do.”

This is how we help fulfill the requirements. The older the child, the more the process of establishing rules becomes reflexive. We do more persuasion, discuss, but still, to some extent, control the fulfillment of all the demands that we have put forward. Because he doesn't yet have enough resources to do it himself.
Unreasonable demands

You shouldn’t put too much pressure on your child - prevent him from developing with excessive restrictions or give him restrictions that are beyond his age. Young children have little ability to control themselves. Especially in terms of stepping on the throat of your own song and not doing what you were told not to do. When the burden of prohibitions becomes overwhelming, they begin to protest or become depressed.

Limitations are like a suit:

     it should not be too tight, otherwise it will simply deform the personality;
     should not be too loose, because then you won’t be able to lean on it;
     must be the right size.

The parent’s task is to clearly respond to the child’s changing capabilities at all times. And on the one hand, provide him with safety and guidance, and on the other, gradually teach him to follow the rules himself.
Too many rules

There shouldn't be too many rules. The younger the child, the fewer things he is able to remember. If he is not overloaded with a large number of rules, he is more likely to clearly understand and remember them. And he himself will strive to comply.

You can think in advance about what you are willing to put up with and what you will not allow under any circumstances. For example, you don’t have to fill a child’s head with rules of politeness ahead of time. The baby will learn this himself by observing his mother’s behavior: how she greets other mothers on a walk, in a store with a salesperson, or on the landing with neighbors.

But if a child tries to hit another, then the rule is necessary: “You hit the boy. We don't hit people. If you do that again, we'll have to leave."

It is important that the rule is always observed by all family members (and demonstrated by them). If you can’t eat on the sofa in the room, then none of the adults eat on the sofa and don’t let the child.

Otherwise it's easy to get confused:

     why yesterday it was possible to run around with cookies throughout the apartment, but today you can’t;
     why should I eat at the table, and dad eats in front of the TV;
     Why does grandma allow you to take candy from a bowl, but mom gives it out only after lunch?

When all family members are consistent, the child clearly understands that the rule is inevitable and it will not be possible to break it. This means that he will quickly learn it and use it without adult supervision. Because order in the demands and behavior of an adult is one of the main developmental needs at this age.
Briefly about the main thing

The child will accept, remember and follow the rules if adults act taking into account his interests and developmental characteristics:

     Show confidence and goodwill when establishing a rule.
     They think about their actions and do not overload them with rules (neither in complexity nor in number).
     In case of prohibitions, acceptable alternatives are offered.
     Consistently help to follow the rule until the child learns to do it himself.

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