I suppose that depends on what kind of discipline the child is already used to. We stress the importance of politeness and the consequences of being rude constantly to my 4-year-old son, and he knows that if he's rude he won't be allowed to socialize with everyone else. If he misbehaves, I let him know he's being extremely rude. If he continues or resumes the behavior, then he has to go a) to his room if we're at home, or b) to the van if we're visiting until it's time to go home, where he will take quiet time in his room. As long as it's not really hot or cold outside, we'll generally let him sit in the van for 5-10 minutes after he's put himself in there before we excuse ourselves and head home so he has time to calm down, then we tell him what's going to happen when we get home and why. When he was younger, time outs worked very well, especially if he could be separated from everyone else and ignored for a set amount of time. It does help that we have a relatively limited social circle, so nearly all the adults he sees will reinforce good behavior on the terms that my husband and I have chosen to implement for him.
What do you do when the child misbehaves in front of you? If you have prescribed ways of handling your child's behavior that are not abusive, there should be no difficulty in dealing with them when others are present. Simply excuse yourself, take the child aside and deal with them. Sometimes a warning is all that is needed. In the past, my children and I have had signals that were discussed before we left the house. For example, I would tell them, we are going to such and such a place. If I look at you this way (frown and shake head,) it means you need to stop what you are doing and come to me. This was often connected with a consequence, reward or withholding of reward. It worked quite well. Humans are not perfect and children are no exception to this. Children are going to misbehave, there is no way around it. As they grow, they will learn what behavior is acceptable and what is not. This takes time and the patience of an understanding parent. The end goal of any dealing with a child should be their ultimate well-being in the short-term and in the long-term. Consistency is very important and when children understand that no matter where they are the unacceptable behavior is still unacceptable and will be met with a consequence, they will become comfortable with that boundary and adjust their behavior accordingly. It is also important to remember that there can be a variety of reasons for a child to misbehave. Sometimes over excitement, hunger, fatigue or boredom can bring on the unacceptable behavior. It is the job of a parent to ensure that their child's needs are being met before becoming judgmental about a child's motives. You would never want to embark on an adversarial relationship with your child by assuming that their behavior is a personal attack. Parenting is a journey full of puzzles and lessons. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don't. Give it your best and don't be too hard on your child or yourself. Best wishes and happy parenting!
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