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Posted On: 14 May 2014 11:43 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:14 pm

Expert tips to promote good behaviour by kids

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A distinguished professor of paediatrics explained techniques for encouraging children to behave well, at the third edition of Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar’s (WCMC-Q) ‘Ask the Expert’ series.

Dr Marcellina Mian, Professor of Paediatrics and Associate Dean for Medical Education, WCMC-Q, gave advice about how parents can instil good behaviour in children by implementing simple rules based on consistency, age appropriateness and careful use of rewards.

Dr Mian told the gathering at the Diplomatic Club that a strong, loving bond between parent and child is the key to encouraging good behaviour. “There are many techniques that can be useful, but at the heart of all of them is a good relationship between the parent and the child. A loving child-parent relationship provides the foundation for good behaviour, because it means the child wants to please the parent and to be rewarded with affection and praise.”

The series is part of WCMC-Q’s Sahtak Awalan: Your Health First campaign, a five-year initiative to encourage members of the expat and Qatari communities to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Teaching parents how to improve the behaviour of their children can reduce stress levels and contributes to a happy, stable and healthy home environment.

The public seminar also featured a presentation by Dr Mian, in which she described techniques for soothing crying babies, dealing with toddlers who have temper tantrums, and encouraging healthy eating and sleeping habits, among other advice.

Dr Mian advocates an approach to parenting based on incentivising good behaviour, and explained that clear boundaries have to be set for children. They need to be taught how to express anger or frustration, rather than acting it out. They also need to be helped to understand that their behaviour has consequences, and that behaving well has much more pleasant ones.

“It is not fair to punish a child if you have not first made it clear what is the good behaviour you expect. When you are faced with unacceptable behaviour, the first thing to do is tell your child calmly why acting that way is not OK and to stop doing it. If the undesirable behaviour continues, you can remove the toy with which the child was playing or explain that a planned treat like a trip to a movie will be cancelled unless the child start to behave.” If bad behaviour persists or gets out of control, Dr Mian recommends isolating the child for a short ‘time-out’ period of one minute for each year of the child’s age.