This week we’re going to get straight to the solution.
It is ……… STOP TALKING!
Think of when you are misbehaving- Are you really in the best frame of mind to listen to people telling you what you should be doing and why you should be doing it? No? Well, children are the same.
To get children to change their behaviour, we have to stop telling and start acting.
Remember: Just telling (and telling again) is no more than a wish or a nag
What you can do:
- Tell your child what you do expect from them, when everyone is calm. If you do this during the misbehaviour no-one will be listening. You will be wasting oxygen and words.
- State the consequences clearly, that means: what will happen if the child does, and does not do, what you require. Remember, having a positive consequence in place is much more motivating for a child to do what is expected. Setting the consequences during calm times will help you remember to do this. E.g. After making yourself a snack, you need to clean up after yourself. If you do, you can have your favourite snack twice in a week. If you don’t, then you can only choose a piece of fruit from the bowl or have nothing.
Some important points:
- Write it down or draw it – so everyone can be reminded.
- Remind them, just before you expect them to follow it. This will make it easier for them to succeed.
- If they still chose not to follow your expectation, you don’t have to lecture, just remind them of the negative consequence that you agreed upon.
- FOLLOW THROUGH – ensure the consequence is experienced whether it is positive or negative. This is not easy. It’s important to stay positive and not criticize or blame the child for not following the standard – just give the consequence that you have already discussed.
- Make the consequences relate – consequences work best if they are linked to the behaviour (for example, not brushing your teeth means no sweet treats, as opposed to missing time on the computer).
- Do not bluff – you must do what you say. Don’t let no mean – “not yet, pester me and I’ll say yes.”
Dealing with misbehaviour while it is happening is extremely difficult, very stressful, and often doesn’t produce the results that you are hoping for. Working within a system, and knowing how to use consequences so that they actually work for you, helps you come up with solutions to reduce misbehaviour that has become stressful.