(MENAFN Editorial) A distinguished professor of pediatrics 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 Pediatrics and Associate Dean for Medical Education at WCMC-Q, gave expert advice about how parents can instill good behavior in children by implementing simple rules based on consistency, age appropriateness and careful use of rewards.
Speaking at the event at the Diplomatic Club, Dr. Mian emphasized that a strong, loving bond between parent and child is the key to encouraging good behavior.
She said: "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 behavior, because it means the child wants to please the parent and to be rewarded with affection and praise."
The Ask the Expert series is part of WCMC-Q's Sahtak Awalan: Your Health First campaign, a five-year initiative that aims to encourage members of both the expat and Qatari communities to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Teaching parents how to improve the behavior of their children can reduce stress levels and contributes to a happy, stable and healthy home environment.
The public seminar 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 approch to parenting based on incentivizing good behavior, and explained that clear boundaries have to be set for children. They need to be taught how to express their anger or frustration, rather than acting it out. They also need to be helped to understand that their behavior 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 behavior you expect. When you are faced with unacceptable behavior, the first thing to do is to tell your child calmly why acting that way is not OK and to stop doing it. If the undesirable behavior continues, you can remove the toy with which the child was playing or explain that a planned treat like a trip to the movies will be cancelled unless the child start to behave."
If bad behavior 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. Under no circumstances should physical force be used to punish a child and children should not be shouted at, said Dr. Mian.
"Raising your voice is counterproductive because it creates an angry atmosphere that the child will react to with negative emotions, such as anger or sadness. Smacking children is not acceptable and it sends a message to the child that violence is a way to get what you want, which is of course undesirable."
Dr. Mian reiterated the importance of a loving relationship between parent and child.
She said: "If there is a strong, loving bond, the parent's disapproval will often be enough to correct unwanted behavior."