Parenting Matters: Ignoring the bad, praising the good

  • Wednesday, November 27, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

Trying to stop your child from doing something you find irritating can be a difficult task. Some children respond quickly and others persist in doing the very thing you are asking them not to do.

Try your regular methods of getting your child to change but be open to trying some new things.

It is not a new idea to encourage parents to ignore their child’s bad behavior and praise the positive. It is a different method than what most parents are used to doing.

After parents have been unable to stop their child’s whining or tantrum, parent might try ignoring the bad and praising the good behavior.

When this method doesn’t immediately work, however, parents frequently give up.

When there is whining and tantrums you are trying to control, it is easy to become frustrated and spend a lot of time trying to get him to change.

But if you really ignore this behavior, you will find that some of this will work. Your goal is to stop your child from getting your attention through his negative behavior.

Setting the tone

Here are a few rules to remember:

1. When you are truly ignoring your child’s behavior that means no verbal contact, no physical contact, and no eye contact.

2. If you cannot ignore the behavior, you should leave the room.

3. When you ignore his behavior, be consistent. Ignore the behavior every time it occurs.

4. Heavily praise the opposite behavior, the positive behavior. Let your child know when he is doing it correctly.

5. When you first ignore a behavior, be prepared for it to happen more often. It is not out of the ordinary for your child to do the negative behavior more often just to get your attention.

Trying to ignore negative behavior is only part. Then you have to catch your child doing the right thing.

Positive steps

Here are a few rule to remember about being effective with your praise for the right behavior:

1. Remember that praise keeps a child on track and on task. Your child needs praise.

2. Praise helps build your child’s positive self-concept.

3. Provide extra praise for behaviors that you want to build or increase.

4. Your attention is something that your child needs. Use it in the right way at the right time.

5. Be descriptive when giving your child praise. Say exactly what behavior you are praising. “You picked up your toys as soon as I asked you and you did a great job. Thank you.” “You did just what mommy asked you to do. You stopped whining and that made mommy very proud of you.”

You are in a very powerful position as a parent. I know it does not seem like it when your child is having a tantrum because of some little thing. In reality, this is showing you how important you are. Your child wants your attention. He wants your praise.

Give it to him in a way that helps you teach him what is right and what is not.

Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. To reach First Teacher Executive Director Patty Waite, email patty@firstteacher.org or call 360-681-2250.

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