The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever—And What to Do About It

The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever—And What to Do About ItThe Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever—And What to Do About It by Katherine R. Lewis
Published by PublicAffairs on April 17th 2018
ISBN: 1549168363
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“When a child misbehaves, instead of getting angry, get curious. The outburst or misbehavior is a puzzle, and your child holds the solution. The behavior is communicating something to you; it’s up to you to decode the message. Our role as parents isn’t to preside over an always peaceful household; it’s to see disruptions as a chance to better understand our children and help them grow. The home is a learning lab where our children can experiment, fail, and eventually succeed, not a shrine to perfection.”

Parents have always faced challenges. Each generation has faced their own challenges. Today one of the challenges is technology. The internet, social media, video games, etc. Children are becoming over stimulated and are so used to being overstimulated that it is hard for them to have down time. We are seeing an increase in mood disorders, and behavioral issues. How many of us played outside as children? It was the norm for me. Everyday I played outside with my sister, with other kids in our neighborhood or simply by myself on my swing set. Playing with other teaches children teamwork, social skills, problem solving, self-regulation, cooperation, and conflict resolution. What happens when children prefer their ipad, their x-box, their smartphone, etc.? What happens when children don’t learn the skills to regulate their behavior?

Discipline has also changed over the years. I was sent to my room, grounded and spanked as a child. Over the years parents have turned to parenting books ranging from Sears parenting books to 1-2-3 Magic looking for parenting tips. This book looks at various styles of parenting but states the most important way to parent is to have empathy, to let our children learn from making mistakes, to allow them to fail, and to help them to grow. To be aware of how we speak to them and about them.

“Every time you use a word, a kid swallows it and it becomes part of their self idea.”

Overstimulated kids don’t have the skills to calm down. They are used to drama, to high energy, to constant visual stimulation. They are not used to being bored, having quiet or down time. Heaven forbid that kids get bored. We want to be good parents and introduce our children to a lot of things. How many kids spend a full day at school and have after school activities every single night of the week, them come home for homework and dinner, then video-games, tv, their computers, etc. We are not teaching our children how to relax, how to be at peace, etc. After school activities are great and are very beneficial but we need balance. We also need parents who are present. Who are not on their device of choice. I recently went out to dinner with my husband and son. I noticed a family of four at the next table and every single member of the family was on a device. They were not socializing or talking about their days, they were together but not present.

Parents also need to be clear in their expectations for their children and how we voice those expectations.

“Children live up or down to our expectations. Not always at the moment, but in the long run. Stop predicting doom through negative comments like, “if you don’t finish your chores, you won’t be able to play basketball with the neighbors!” Instead, convince yourself that your child will go along with the plan and express this confidence in phrases like, “As soon as you’ve finished your chores, you can go play basketball with your neighbors!” Act as if all will go smoothly, and it often will.”

Another tip form this book which I touched on earlier, is to allow our children to fail. As parents we naturally want the best for our children. We want them to be successful, we want them to be good at things, we want them to excel. Allowing them to fail can be an uncomfortable feeling. But in failing comes knowledge, comes strength, comes growth. If we never allow them to learn form their mistakes, how will they grow to make wise decisions for themselves.

A lot of information in this book is common sense. There are also sections that show some insight into how to speak to your children in a positive way. For example, instead of saying if you don’t clean your room you are not going to your friend’s home. Instead say when you are finished cleaning your room, you can go to your friend’s home. The thought is not to give a consequence but to show the reward for when the task is accomplished.

I thought the information was presented in a clear and informative manner. The examples are easy to understand and deal with real life situations. Will this book change the way someone parents their child? Hopefully it will provide some insight and cause some parents to stop and think about how they talk to their child, how they talk about their child, and to show by example appropriate ways of behaving, and to not reinforce bad behavior bad behavior by giving in to your child when they are having a tantrum.

I received a copy of this book from Perseus books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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