Change the scene – prevent the misbehavior from being repeated
Prevention is better than cure. That phrase is cliched, for a reason. If you are dealing with recurrent misbehavior, look at what you can do to prevent it in the first place.
Brushing my daughter’s teeth in the morning was a big hassle. She must have been around 3 years old then. She would whine, scream, cry, lash out by physically hitting or kicking us and do anything she could to get out of it. We yelled, screamed, bribed, rewarded and did everything we could in the name of dental hygiene. (Just for the record, this was all before I started on this whole fine parenting journey…) Nothing seemed to work though. It was sad to watch her start her day this way, and it was draining for us to deal with all the drama early in the morning as well.
Then I read somewhere that some children do not handle transitions well. Coincidentally, my husband happened to just pick her out of bed one day and walk her around the house while she continued to snooze on his shoulders. When they went to the backyard, she snapped out of it and was excited to see the birdies and squirrels. And that day it was really easy to brush her teeth. It was completely unexpected, and suddenly it clicked in my mind – she was not really resisting the brushing of her teeth, but was “acting” out because the transition from sleep to a busy day was too overwhelming for her.
These days, we spend a few minutes every morning to help her make the transition, but the time is well spent, since it makes the rest of the morning go much smoother. It’s easy to call your child stubborn, headstrong, disobedient, ill-mannered etc, and try to discipline her for it, but if you get to the root cause of why she sometimes behaves the way she does, you will see that there is a really sweet little child hidden in there, who may not need any “disciplining” in the traditional sense of the word at all.
by Sumitha Bhandarkar.