After reading the last post to determine if you child is dysregulated or defiant, you have realized that she is defiant. Defiance occurs when a child knows what do but just will not do what is asked. You, as a parent, are frustrated and at your wits end with knowing how to survive the temper tantrums, begging, whining, and other ways that your kid
tortures you makes your life challenging.
With this post, I will offer some quick and dirty ways to make your life better with your child.
With any of these techniques, consistency is the key.
So, let’s get started with some short lessons on helping you enjoy your child.
#1 Use Rewards
Most parents come to me and are very upset about the child’s negative actions. They feel it doesn’t make sense to reward a child when his or her behavior is overall very poor. However, positive reinforcement (rewards) motivate us all to act better. Finding even small areas to reward a child makes a huge different to a child who is used to being the one in trouble. Invent things to reward and praise your child for, such as asking them to get a Kleenex. After she complies with any request, praise her as soon as possible.
3 Keys to Creating Effective Rewards
1. Make it powerful. It has to matter to the kid to motivate the positive behavior
2. Make it positive. Working toward something is always more effective than working to not get things taken away. Think how hard you would work at your job to earn a huge bonus vs. just managing your status quo.
3. Make it immediate. Connecting the reward to the positive behavior as soon as possible. Would you rather get paid every day for your work or once a month? Same applies for your kids.
#2 Know the Six Types of Manipulation.
Manipulation occurs when your child is trying to get something he wants and you are in the way. He will work with whatever he have in his arsenal to get whatever it is he desires. The key to working against this manipulation is to recognize it. Once you see it, then you can treat it for was it is -manipulation- and remain consistent.
6 Types of Manipulation (1-2-3 Magic by Thomas Phelan)
1. Badgering- “Please, please, please.” Many kids have figured out that if they ask enough, they will wear your down and you will give in. Don’t do it.
2. Intimidation- “I hate you” or “You are the worst parent ever.” If you are prepared for this ahead of time, you will decrease the chances that the behavior will escalate.
3. Threat- “I going to run away” or “I will never speak to you again.” Know most of these are idle threats and are meant to push your button because they know deep down that you, as the parent, would do anything to keep them safe.
4. Martydom- “I never get anything” or “Everyone always gets to go but me.” Guilt is the main objective. Chances are, you do the best you can with what you have and your kid knows this. So, they have figured out that making you feel guilty will often lead to you giving in.
5. Butter-up- “You are the nicest parent ever.” Beware! Watch if this is often followed by a request.
6. Physical tactics- Hitting, kicking, etc. These are often used by younger children when their words are not enough to express their feelings.
CAUTION: When you recognize these tactics in your child and start to be consistent with YOUR behavior, they will often switch tactics to see if she can get what she wants. Also, it will get worse before it get’s better- hang in there. The worst you can do is cave at the height of the manipulation.
#3 Make the punishment fit the crime and make it time-limited.
When frustrated or angry, parents will tell their children they are grounded from television, going outside, talking on the phone, etc. until they have “learned their lesson.” This sets both you and the child up for failure. The child then has no clear understanding of when the punishment will be over.
Expectations and understanding are one of the keys to improving behavior. You, as a parent, are then responsible for determining when the punishment is over from day-to-day. This can lead to either the punishment being never-ending or not being enforced, neither of which promote positive future behaviors.
Be very clear about what you are punishing the child for, what the punishment will entail, and how long it will be. Doing it on the front end will save you both grief.
There you go, 3 ways to change your child’s behavior and make your life better.
I once asked mother what she would have done differently when she was raising me and my siblings. She quickly responded “I would have enjoyed you more.”
Yes, children are trying but the rewards can make life worth living. Use these tips and make your life with your children a celebration rather than an endurance test.
What are some of the best techniques or resources you implement with your child or children with whom you work?