One of the major roles of a parent that I found absolutely intimidating about   parenthood was the daunting responsibility to lay down the blueprint for the children’s behaviour through the parent’s behaviour during the formative years.

I know very well that the ‘do as I say and not as I do’ model has never worked as it is has been proved beyond a shadow of doubt  that little children look up to their parents as their ultimate role models, until of course they become teenagers and their parents suddenly become not so cool anymore.

Bottom line is that what a parent does shows their children how the parent wants the child to behave.It would therefore be interesting to know how many parents out there are conscious on a daily basis that how they cope with their feelings such as frustration and distress influences how their child would manage his or her own  emotions.

How many of us are actually not only aware of the above fact  but do appreciate that our interaction with other people,exercise pattern or lack thereof, how we take care of ourselves for example mould the children’s behaviour on a daily basis and much more so  than how much we instruct the kids to behave.

In the light of the above after I  read a book titled ‘Plain Talk About Spanking’ online at www.nospank.net/pt2011.htm as recommended by a reader via email following my musings on Spanking as a method of discipline last week, I set out to vary my disciplinary measures even more and stumbled across an exciting method that my boys and are happy to experiment with right now.

It all has to do with including the children in making the house rules and I must admit that it went better than I thought and has  worked even better so far.
When I suggested that we set the behaviour ground rules for the family, my boy who has been of late complaining of my shouting, especially in the morning when I drag them sometimes still half asleep into the bathtub for us to be in time  for school lurched on it.

He immediately said “No shouting” and I followed with: “No coming home from playing outside after dark.” Not to be outdone by me he shot back with “No breaking of things in the house,” which I must admit I was pretty excited about as in the past year I have had so many appliances ranging from the oven door to the washing machine broken. While I was still thinking of another rule he said, “No stealing” which got me a little worried about whether he knew someone who had been stealing all this time.

In the end we had a couple of very useful rules which both boys are keeping with enthusiasm and competing with each other to see who can go the longest without breaking them.  To make the rules even more attractive a friend of mine suggested I come up with a reward system to encourage them to do even better, which I think was just a great suggestion.

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the fact that as I get my kids to behave, I also get my own practical chance learn to deal with challenges and frustrating situations in a calm and productive way. Talk about a lesson in patience!

For comments, queries and questions write to emangb@thevoicebw.com