Archive for the ‘Behavior’ Category

Recognize the fact that your child is not color blind. Experts think that one big mistake that parents make (especially white American parents) is assuming that their children are unaware of race. We always hear, Oh, my child does not even see skin color, but the truth is that kids absolutely do notice.

As your children grow, look for cues about what different appearances mean and which ones matter. They will quickly realize that some things, whether someone wears a hat, for instance, are irrelevant while others, such as sex are significant because we talk about them constantly (“Boys line up on the left, girls on the right”). What about race? Obviously, we do not say, “Good morning, black and white children,” or Asians go get your backpacks.” But even if you never say a word about ethnicity, racial distinctions are plainly visible to kids. Many communities are highly segregated, which children notice. You will be driving through town and your preschooler is thinking, Oh, here is where the Chinese people live.

Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Treating people of all races and backgrounds honorably is not just politically correct, it is the right thing to do, the respectful thing.

When my 4-year-old son, David, started flipping out about going to preschool, I thought it was typical first day jitters. Then he told me the reason: I do not want a teacher with brown skin. Our family who is white and live in a diverse neighborhood in Northwest Indiana. I must admit I was a bit horrified and confused. He had been around people of many races before. Our neighbor who had babysat for David before when he was a toddler is African American. But his new teacher whom he had met before at the school orientation was from Africa, so I think it had more to do with her accent. Concerned I turned to a psychologist who was also a family friend. I was reassured that little David was not being a racist.

It is natural for young kids to notice differences in a person’s appearance and manner of speaking, and to express curiosity or even fear about them. Many of us can probably share a comparably mortifying moment, whether it was our kid’s insensitive comment about someone in a wheelchair or an objectionable question about why a classmate of Asian descent has “squinty” eyes. In our upcoming posts we will share some steps with you that you can take to teach your child how to be open minded. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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If you suspect that your child has stolen something (or if they are caught red handed), you should rehash why stealing is wrong and help them see it from the other person’s perspective. “How would you feel if David stole your coloring book?” Go light on the talk of police involvement or breaking the law. These scare tactics can stop your child from being honest about their misbehaviors and can cause them to fear police officers rather than viewing them as helpers in an emergency situation.

Instead, you should right the wrong. Help your child apologize and return the item to its rightful owner. If it is not returnable (as in the case of my niece, who was already munching on the cookie), pay for it and make your child do an extra set of chores to pay you back. If you have already left the store or find an item at home, take it back (if possible) and follow through with consequences that fit the crime. For example, if your kid steals a toy, they might have to donate one of their own to an organization that helps needy children. Repeated thievery or other troubling behavior may require help from a therapist. Fortunately, most kids who take something once or twice and face real life consequences (having to apologize, angering a friend, disappointing parents) do not steal again. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Offenses

If you eat a few grapes at the grocery store without buying them or claim an older child is younger so that you could pay less at the movie theatre, your child will notice. This will send them the message that it is okay to take things you have not paid for. It is important to model the behavior you expect of your child. Keep in mind that even little innocent acts can look dishonest. When you grab a free magazine from the dentist’s office, your child may think you are stealing. A little explanation can help him understand the difference between freebies and stealing. Make a comment like, “Awesome, this magazine is free.” Then point out the word “complimentary” or the sign that says “Take One.” Tell your child that if they are unsure whether an item is free or not, it is always best to ask first. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Lead By Example

Kids may pick up something because they are afraid to ask for it. They do not know what to say or they think the response will be a no. Focus on helping your child learn how to ask permission and practice it with them. You might guide them through asking a friend to borrow a bookmark, for instance, or asking a teacher if they can have a sticker. Praise them when they do the right thing in their daily activities. “Jenna, I appreciate that you asked for the crayons before taking them.” Explain to them that requesting permission does not automatically mean that they will get what they want all the time. The person may just say no. Discuss other ways that they could get what they want, for example, adding it to a birthday wish list, or doing some extra chores around the house to earn it. If they know there are other ways to get sunglasses, they may be less likely to swipe those that belong to a friend. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Stealing

I am sure that you have already discussed the topic before, but now is a good time for a bit of a refresher course. Rather than bringing up stealing randomly and making your child think that they are in trouble, get the conversation started by reading a children’s book together like Ricky Sticky Fingers, by Julia Cook, or watching a movie together like Despicable Me. Then ask your child what they think about the behavior of the characters. Remind them what stealing is, Stealing is taking something that belongs to someone else without asking permission. And also let them know why it is wrong. Stealing makes the other person feel sad. It may help if you give a specific example of stealing. Tell them that taking a toy car from the store without paying for it is stealing. Then see if your child can determine if certain scenarios, like putting the teacher’s pen in their backpack, borrowing a book from the library, or taking papers from Dad’s briefcase are considered stealing as well. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Stealing

Even good kids might be tempted to steal something that they really want.

When I took my 7-year-old nephew to the store and later learned that he had picked up a cookie and hid it in his pocket, I worried how he had learned this behavior and if it had become a habit. Much to my relief, I learned that petty thievery is normal for kids his age. By kindergarten, most children know it is not appropriate to take things that do not belong to them. However, they still have poor impulse control. Their desire to have something that they really want may be stronger than the little voice in their head telling them that stealing is not the right thing to do. And now that they are surrounded by a classroom full of their peers and seeing what everyone owns, the temptation to make a five-finger discount is even greater. In our upcoming posts, we will give you some strategies to help prevent and deal with stealing. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Sticky Fingers