Stop behavior problems before they happen


One of the most important considerations in parenting is prevention. I cannot stress enough how much prevention can save your sanity and induce compliance in your child.

“Prevention is the best form of correction,” (On Becoming Childwise).

There are several parenting tactics that allow you to prevent behavior problems before they happen. Some of these tactics include:

As important all of these factors are–and, make no mistake, they are important–there is one factor that really drives prevention: freedoms. Avoid trouble by limiting access to items that aren’t within the child’s realm of responsibility (like the markers in the photo above).

I discussed the idea of having your child ask for permission. That’s one way to limit a child’s freedoms. As you go about your day, think through possible freedoms your child has (or takes on his own) that could be getting him into trouble.

“You should continually evaluate what you allow your child to do and whether those freedoms are appropriate considering his age, understanding, and abilities. Are you giving him inappropriate freedoms?

Let freedoms be handed out carefully as the child demonstrates contentment with your authority and responsibility in previous freedoms given. Granting freedoms consistent with a child’s level of self-control equals developmental harmony.

Freedoms come gradually: from the playpen, to the backyard, to the neighborhood, to the world at large. As your child demonstrates responsible behavior and sound judgment, he earns another level of freedom. This type of training results in a child who is a joy to everyone and who has achieved a sense of affirmation within himself,” (On Becoming Childwise).

What more could we want? Make sure your child’s freedoms are equal to his level of responsibility (not his age), and always focus on prevention. As always, if behavior problems are avoided altogether, that’s less disciplining and correcting that you need to do.