This is the third post on behaviour. To read the previous posts please click the relevant link.
Consequences can have two different effects. One positive and one negative.
The positive effect is that the child understands the reason for the consequence and it has had a positive impact on his understanding of the unacceptable behaviour. His self esteem and feeling of self worth are still intact and the behaviour and subsequent consequences were fair and in relation to each other.
The negative effect can cause shouting and confrontation on both sides which leads to the child not understanding the unacceptable behaviour or the consequences that were applied to it. This type of consequence can cause an escalation of the situation with both parties becoming more and more frustrated and upset. Remember, any attention is better than no attention. Constant shouting and criticism will cause a deterioration in self esteem and self worth.
Remember from the last post ‘Catch ‘em being good’? This is still the best way to guide children to become socially aware and well behaved. The more positive comments they receive the better. Children thrive on attention and the positive type does them so much more good than the negative type. Praising children for the little, lovely things they do really does work. Try it and watch for those smiles.
There are times when you know that your child is deliberately taunting you with unacceptable behaviour. Even young toddlers have mastered this skill. If they are in no danger or the behaviour isn’t aggressive then try to ignore it. Not easy to do when you know that the behaviour is directed at you but try. As soon as the naughty behaviour has stopped praise the child. This teaches the child the acceptable behaviour is what gets attention not the unacceptable behaviour.
Use sparingly or they can come back to bite you. Try to use a reward system with those activities you know your child finds difficult. Giving a choice of rewards is even more powerful. If the bedroom is constantly untidy but you notice your child tidying up without being asked, a choice of rewards can be an encouragement for them to repeat the action. The reward doesn’t have to be material. Extra computer time, staying up to watch a particular t.v. programme, a cuddle and quality time or a special treat can all be used as rewards. It doesn’t, actually it shouldn’t, cost you anything except, maybe, time.
For children who respond well to sticker charts this can be a good way for them to earn a reward. The reward should be pre-arranged and fulfilled as soon as the child has completed his chart. You can make you own or there are those that are commercially produced. Click on the pictures and you will be taken to Amazon to see more details
I know I keep on about this but children will accept attention whether it is good or bad. Consequences that involves shouting or criticism the child should be avoided.
I’ve heard many parents threaten their children with being grounded for a year because they left the lid off the toothpaste or a similar misdemeanour and the resulting argument and escalating consequences ended in parent and child being left in a state of frustration and despair.
Try to keep to reasonable consequences which relate to the behaviour.
This can be a very effective consequence but needs to be carried out properly.
- Time-out should be proportionate and carried out immediately after the unacceptable behaviour.
- Time out should be used as a consequence and not as an excuse for a bit of peace and quiet!
- Make sure that the child knows why time out has been given.
- Don’t banish children another room. Children shouldn’t be made to feel as if they are unwanted. It is the behaviour you don’t like, not the child.
- Don’t talk to your child during time out. Keeping them in the same room as you and ignoring them has more impact. If they are crying or shouting, end the time out when they have calmed down.
An idea to help with changing your attitude to behaviour is to look at your reactions over the course of a week or two. For example:
- How many times did you remember to catch your child being good or praise them?
- How many times did you explain to the child why the behaviour was unacceptable?
- How many times did you lose your temper with your child because of your stress or anxiety rather than with unacceptable behaviour.
- How many times did you give your child choices? Link to last post
- How many times have you spoken positively about your child?
Please remember that positive behaviour strategies take time to implement and to see the results but they have a huge effect on children and adults.
Do you use any positive consequences which I haven’t mentioned?
Have you had success enforcing positive behaviour strategies?