Homes and schools often come across ‘unruly’ kids, who are difficult to handle. Parents and teachers do try several ways to make such children ‘behave’. All their tactics usually fall under one of the two main areas – either carrot or stick.
Instead of punishing the erroneous child, the family or the school could come up with a more holistic approach, the one that is guaranteed to give positive results. However, two conditions are mandatory for this ‘approach’:
1. Tireless and continued efforts,
2. A certain period of time, depending on the child
Starting from the roots, we need to analyze when exactly the child is found to be behaving unpleasantly.
1. When he is in the company of
a) his peers?
If the child is found to go hyper when he is in the midst of kids his age, it is the like of ‘mob-frenzy’.
b) his juniors?
In this case, check how he gets treated himself, back home: Because he only passes on what he has been receiving all along.
c) his seniors?
If you observe that the company of older children makes him wild, he is desperately trying to ape them or pretend being the Big Brother.
2. When he is at school?
Over-protected children and those undergoing too much restriction tend to let themselves loose at school in order to relax and to be “just themselves”. They wouldn’t care about this dual role. Studies could actually take the back seat. Or in extreme cases, intellectuals under the guise of mischievous brats outdo the peers in performance very quickly, so that they have enough time to make trouble.
3. When he is at home?
Teachers are throwing surprises at the Parents’ Meets when parents nudge the teaching staff to ‘tell the (seemingly well-behaved) child to behave properly’ at home, by showing respect to elders, taking care of personal belongings and participating in the family affairs.
Whatever the circumstance, no battle is won unless the violence is wiped out. And the problem of misbehaving child could be considered over only when he starts to take up responsibilities, voluntarily.
What could be the steps to mellow these undisciplined children? Unless it takes the form of a medical problem (your pediatrician will be able to clarify this fear/ doubt), the best antidote or sure remedy is PATIENT COMMUNICATION. The time taken to reap the fruits is directly proportional to the unfaltering efforts of the adult(s).
Well, first make sure that your bonding with the child is strong enough and that he trusts you. It is advisable that someone who is close to the child takes up the responsibility of turning him a new leaf – or a calmer and discipline one at that.
During informal chats (be it at the dinner table or while driving or at bed time- the choice is all yours) – invite your child to talk about
(i) the games he plays with his friends,
(ii) the route to the local zoo/ park/ his best friend’s home,
(iii) what would follow 87, 312,166 or the alphabet K, T or W,
(iv) what are his Big Dreams to be realized when he grows up,
(v) whether he could recall who fell down in the Nursery rhyme ‘Jack and Jill’
And remember, he has to reply to these questions instantly: no time is allowed for ‘thinking’. This would evoke fun and laughter.
In another circumstance, invite your child to leaf through the pages of the calendar. Have one of the sheets pinned to another before you call him. Ask him to find out what is odd about the calendar. Of course, he would tell you the month that is missing. Appreciate him and give him a hug.
In yet another situation, get him in to conversation about how the entire world would be thrown in a mess if only the Sun decided not to stick on to its non-stop regular routine. Go on and on about all the probabilities, taking turns. The exercise would be fun, with imagination going wild. Gradually settle down with being thankful for the unfailing duty of the Sun that keeps the normal life going.
If it is possible, shift the conversation to the other ‘things’ with order, pattern and system that he could name in his everyday life – without which HE will be in trouble. Wait for his answer and supplement the items 1 to 5 that you ‘once’ discussed in the car and the calendar (as though it “just struck you”, then and there…). Do this casually, without evoking an iota of suspicion from the child.
If the situation isn’t suitable, choose to do this at a better opportunity.
Gradually, wind up the conversation asking him if his own orderliness would make the home much more lovelier place to live in or the classroom, a place where he could spread happiness.
Take care not to push him too hard at this stage and conclude with a game or humming (‘guess the song’) or whatever, so that you both disperse on a pleasant note. You may indulge in similar activities with comfortable intervals.
It would be wiser to appreciate him for every effort that he takes in the process of ‘mending’ his ways. Keep up with your task, with a smile on your face.
Flowers don’t blossom the day after you water the plant. And when they blossom, they unfurl joy, too, along with the petals.