How to offer Positive Guidance with your Children

May 1, 2014

OAK CREEK, Wis -- Are you tired of being at your wit’s end with your children’s inappropriate behaviors and poor choices? If so, you are not alone.

According to Bev Anderson, executive director for Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in downtown Milwaukee, southside Milwaukee, Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, “Many parents find themselves struggling with how to best guide their children toward exhibiting appropriate behaviors and making good choices.”

“What parents need to realize, is that they play a critical role in helping children learn what behaviors and actions are appropriate and inappropriate and why.”

“Positive guidance can be used to guide our children to achieve self-control and learn that there are consequences for their behaviors and actions.”

Anderson offers these important tips on positive guidance.

Work Together
Anderson says parents need to sit down together to determine which behaviors are most in need of positive guidance.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” says Anderson. “Pick your battles wisely, and remain committed to changing a few inappropriate behaviors at a time.”

Once you identify the inappropriate behaviors you want to change, look below the surface to determine what is really causing them. Then, you and your spouse need to agree on how you are going to address the inappropriate behaviors proactively.

“Speak in simple terms to your children, and tell them what they should be doing (not what they shouldn’t be doing),” says Anderson. “For example, if the problem is disrespect, simply say to them, ‘I would be happy to help you when you ask nicely using your pleases and thank yous.’”

“Be patient,” says Anderson. “Inappropriate behaviors don’t change overnight. Through consistent discipline, you will notice a change in your children.”

Use Teachable Moments
Anderson says to remember that inappropriate behavior is an opportunity to teach. She says to show empathy to your children when they make poor choices, and then use the opportunity to discuss what they should have done or how they should have acted. Let them be part of the solution.

Role Model Appropriate Behaviors
“Make yourself be the person you want your children to be when you are disciplining them,” says Anderson.

“If you want them to be calm and solve problems rationally, don’t overreact and yell at them. Teach them through your behavior how to think about their actions, and how they could have avoided the negative situation or behavior they encountered.”

Be a positive role model for your children when it comes to exhibiting appropriate behavior and making good choices.

Spend Quality Time With Your Children
Most importantly, love your children. Spend time with them, listen to them, and interact with them. Encourage them through good times and bad.

“Keep a sense of humor, and be there for your children,” says Anderson.

“It builds their confidence and empowers them. It also helps them have the courage to be independent and act responsibly.”

Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.

Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers free Parenting Talks and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.

The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070 or visit the agency’s website at

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