Children Manage Behavior


Your Children Can Manage Their Own Behaviors

If you are a parent, you know what you want from your children: that your children can manage their own behaviors.

Of course, when you first start, you have to manage their behaviors. As a parent you are a teacher.

First, you show your children how you want them to behave.

Notice: with every action you take, every word you say you are showing them how to act - whether or not this is what you intend.

Pay attention! Observe closely!

Many of the behaviors you try to manage and correct are behaviors you taught your child. You started at the beginning, when your child was an infant. Your child's actions mirror your own. Your child did the best he or she could to interpret your actions.

Don't kid yourself! Understand this very clearly. The first rule for teaching your child to manage his or her behavior is this:


Make sure that what you do is what you want your child to do.

The next rule is this:

you want your child to manage.

Make sure the rules are plain and simple.

Make sure your rules specify the action you want to see.

Be consistent with your rules.

You will create many problems for yourself if the rules apply at some times but not at other times. This is very confusing to the child. Inconsistency is misleading.

If your child behaves as you desire, give him/her a reward!

The reward may be as simple as the words, "Thank you, I like it when you ... (describe the child's actions).

Other rewards include a kiss on the cheek, a hug, permitting friends to come over to visit, allowing your child to stay up later, allowing your child to watch a favorite TV show, playing a favorite game with your child and more.

If you like, you can set up a REWARDS MENU. With a REWARDS MENU, you can give your child points for different actions. Then your child can select items with points he/she may have earned.

A REWARDS MENU I used with my son when he was a boy is one he now uses with his own sons. It goes like this.

Write the names of items on slips of paper and put the slips in a jar. Put the jar in a special place and let your child draw out a slip after he has earned a specific number of points. Then your child can do or have the thing on the slip.

Supervise your child as much as you need to in order to help your child follow the rules.

Remove your child from the scene when your child begins to break the rule.

When your child has behaved inappropriately, explain immediately to your child exactly what he/she that was wrong. Explain what he/she should have done and why.

Make sure you follow the rules. Your doing something opposite or your failing to follow a rule you expect your child to follow confuses and misleads your child.

Write a contract with your child. Make sure your child understands the contract. Make sure he/she knows what is expected of him. Make sure he knows what he can expect of anyone else who is involved in the contract.

Whenever possible, list in the contract all the consequences that are likely to occur. This includes the rewards as well as what will happen when your child has failed to follow the rules.

Make sure your child can see the relationship between his/her behavior and the consequences that follow his compliance, failure or refusal to obey the rules.

Have your child to tell you what the rules are. For each set of rules you have made, talk with your child. Make sure your child can explain the rules clearly.

If your child is not able to tell you what the rule is, go over the rule again and again until he can tell you accurately.

Telling the rule over and over to your child does not mean you are being a nag about it. This is a simple review.

Each time you review the rule with the child and the child is not able to tell you, it is at this time that you explain the rule. You will do this to make sure your child understands the rule. You want your child to be successful!

Always know where your child is at all times.

One other thing you can do to make sure your child is successful is this. Deal with only one rule at a time.

Give your child many chances to do the behaviors you approve!

Encourage him to do the right things no matter where you are. That means you can go from close supervision to no supervision.

Let go the supervision a little at a time, depending on how well your child follows the rule.

Each time you let go a bit more control and your child follows the rule on his or her own, you can know one thing is certain. You and your child are well on your way to accomplishing your goal: that is, to let your child to manage his/her own behaviors!



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