ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Encourage Good Behaviour in Children

Updated on June 10, 2019
I Am Rosa profile image

This mom of two has worked with non-profits to provide educational and health programs for local children, and improve the local workforce.


Professional Auntie

I have been caring for children for the better part of a quarter of a century. I have been called a “professional auntie”. The one question I often receive from parents is, “How do you get children to behave so well for you?”

At first, I was baffled by this question. I don’t have a secret technique. Children just behave when in my care. I had to think it over for a while before I realized that I do have a secret technique. I treat children As Though. I treat them As Though they are good children and in return they behave as good children.

My Secret Technique

When we have an expectation of a child, the sad reality is that they will often rise to the level of your expectation and no higher. The greater your expectations, the higher they will rise. If your expectations are low, then they will not rise above them. For the most part, this is because of the fact that we treat other people in accordance to your expectations. It is your attitude towards them that motivates their behaviour. Those who expect a child to misbehave will see mischief in every action.

When I approach a child, especially for the first time, I go in with the expectation that the child is well-behaved. And thus, I treat that child As Though they are well-behaved. The child responds positively to me, because I respond positively to him. This has worked remarkably well, even with children who are “problematic”.

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." ~ Wayne Dyer


One of the key components of treating a child As Though is praise. When a child does something we approve of, we give her praise. Praise raises a child up. It makes the child feel good about themselves. It primes the child for more praise. The child craves the praise and positive attention, because it feels good and children like to feel good.

When I first meet a child, I look for something to give the child praise about. Usually it is something that the child does naturally and takes for granted. Or rather, that other adults take for granted. This may be something as simple as putting his dishes in the sink or washing his hands after using the toilet. It might be even simpler than that. Perhaps the child just simply remembered his manners. The key is to find something to sincerely praise the child for.

  • “Thank you for putting your shoes by the door. That’s very helpful.”
  • “Very good manners!”
  • “I see that you are helping. That’s awesome! Thanks for the good job.”

The child has not done anything out of the ordinary, however he has already been praised for what he has done. Suddenly, he is open to new ideas of how he can help. He begins to find creative ways of being involved in activities, even the dull ones like housework. As long as the child efforts are being recognized, he will continue to behave in a manner that draws praise.

Corrective Feedback

Corrective feedback can be a hard thing to handle. Fortunately, if you’ve been able to give the child praise beforehand and build them up, they will be better able to handle corrective feedback. When I say, “corrective feedback,” I am referring to appropriate responses to behaviour that is inappropriate.

Children are very responsive and easy to influence, so a gentle correction goes a long way. Look the child in the eye, use a matter-of-fact tone, and say something like:

  • “We don’t behave like that” or “We don’t talk like that.”
  • “That is not very nice.”
  • “I don’t like that. Let’s not do that again.”
  • “No thank you. That’s not okay.”
  • “We use our manners here.”
  • “I know the that’s allowed at Nana’s house, but we don’t act like that.”


When giving praise or corrective feedback, the behaviour is judged, not the child. IE. "That was very nice of you to share my attention with the other children during playtime" instead of "What a good boy you are for sharing."

Of course, “Nana” is just an example. You would insert the appropriate name. That last example is very effective in teaching a child that different households have different rules. It also helps a child learn to respect other people’s rules and boundaries. It is important to make sure that Nana doesn’t look “bad” or “wrong” for having different rules. If you’re consistent, the child will take their good behaviour with them no matter whose home there in.


Time Out

In the event that I need to go beyond a mild rebuke, a short “Time Out” is usually sufficient enough to correct behaviour. For more information, read “How to Give an Effective Time Out.”


Negative Reinforcement

I’ve never found the need to resort to “Negative Reinforcement” since it is heavy-handed and hurtful. By this, I am referring to negative comments, such as:

  • “Don’t be so stupid”
  • “You’re so clumsy”
  • “I can’t believe what a bad girl you are!”

And, actions like:

  • A smack to the back of the head;
  • Withholding affection;
  • Slapping or other physical discipline.

These are just a few examples of things adults use to “discipline” children. They are demeaning and humiliating. They are also completely unnecessary and result in resentment and subversive acting out. The child may begin to “sneak” or blame others to avoid taking responsibility (and thus avoid punishment). Or, you may find yourself the target of passive-aggressive behaviour, such as your favourite figurine being smashed by “accident” or mysterious scratches on the car.

Be warned: You get out of a child exactly what you put in.

© 2012 Rosa Marchisella


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)