JoAnne’s article is in the Winter NPN Newletter that just came in the mail.
BEFORE TIME OUTS
Strong-willed children tend to start listening more when parents’ attention is positive. Also, giving
specificity to behaviors you want to increase is more effective than simply saying “good job.” Some families need to do more
to change bad behavior, but acknowledgement and praise is the foundation that must be in place before other behavior
management tools can be effective.
Three critical behaviors to acknowledge in your children are making good choices, being a good listener and being safe.
Successful practice of these behaviors will remain important in every stage of your child’s life.
Parents often ask, “How can I stop my child from hitting/jumping on the couch/whining or crying to get his way, etc.?”
Often, these parents are surprised at the answer. It’s not, “Usetime outs effectively” or “Make sure your child understands the
consequences of misbehavior.” Rather than the consequence, or even the misbehavior itself, parents should focus on noticing
and praising the good behavior, however rare it might seem. Parents also should try to understand what motivates their
child to cooperate or follow rules; since you can’t motivate after a bad behavior, this requires you to be one step ahead of
the kids. To begin with, it’s best for parents to examine what precedes and follows their child’s good behaviors.
Specific praise first
An important first step in changing bad behavior is to always acknowledge the good behavior, or “reinforce” the
behaviors you want to see more often.
• When your child holds your hand and cooperatively gets
into her car seat, say, “Holding my hand and getting into the
car nicely shows that you know how to be safe!”
• When your child follows a direction on the first request: “I
appreciate that you listened quickly.”
• When your child calmly picks between the sweatshirt and
the sweater: “That’s a good choice.”
• When you notice that your children are playing together
nicely (i.e., not fighting, screaming, jumping on the furniture,
etc.): “You guys are playing so nicely together.”
Tuesday’s Child provides programming for families across the Chicagoland area,
utilizing a unique parent training model and a child center where professional
staff reinforce parenting techniques and promote school readiness. JoAnne Loper,
director of parent training at Tuesday’s Child, has four boys ages 13 to 25.