Why Canít My Child Do Anything?!
By Lisa Schulte ~ http://www.theparentingnetwork.com

Your childís room is always a mess!
He is such a picky eater!
He never helps do anything around the house!

Sound familiar? Did you realize that you could be part of the reason?

No, Iím not saying itís your fault for your childís behavior, but there are many actions you take that can cause the very response that you donít want to happen. We constantly focus on the problems and how to fix them. This seems like it should work, however when we focus only on problems, the problems only get bigger.  For example, if you constantly tell your child that he is a messy kid and he canít keep his room clean, he eventually believes "Iím just a messy kid, thatís the way I am, and I canít keep my room clean."  Children are not born knowing how to be responsible or irresponsible. They donít know which way to go until we reinforce one behavior or the other.  Which one do you always reinforce? You may think you are reinforcing responsibility, but not if he is always hearing how irresponsible he is.

So what should you do? Try these suggestions. Catch them when they are doing well or when they arenít misbehaving. We spend all our time and energy with our kids when they are misbehaving. Why donít we mess with them when they are behaving? Maybe we donít want to mess up a good thing or we finally have a little time to get something done! If your kids have been fighting and now they are playing together, this is not the time to say "So now youíre getting along, finally!" Instead simply say, "Looks like you guys are having fun!"

When we continually focus on their misbehavior, they will continue because they are getting what they want in the first place, your time and energy. Make a conscious decision to look for the positive. This means even in the worst situations, find something, even the littlest thing, that is good and reinforce that.

My son has a big dog named Goober. We have nagged and reminded about feeding and taking care of this dog. We should have had an agreement in up front to take care of the dog of the dog goes. However, he saved and saved and paid $200.00 of his own money for Goober, so itís hard to just give it away. One particular time we were having problems with him training Goober. After much nagging, I decided I would take my own advice and focus on the positive. We began to work on training and after ten minutes my son went in the house and watched TV. So now Iím left with HIS dog and feeling very angry! I got my emotions together and went to my son and said "Didnít Goober do great today?" With that he said "Yeah, letís work with him tomorrow!" and wrote it on the calendar. If I had come in ranting and raving like I wanted to, he would have just blown me off.

Focus on what they are doing well instead of what they are always doing wrong. Once you start consciously looking for the good, you will actually start noticing more good.

Never label. Children become what they hear enough. Heard enough, your children will except these statements and make that same decision about themselves. We again are reinforcing what we donít want. Kids believe what we label them. Make sure the life you want for your children is the one you are creating!

Lisa Schulte is the mother of 4 boys, an instructor of "Redirecting Children's Behavior",
and the owner of The Parenting Network. Visit it at http://www.theparentingnetwork.com
or subscribe at mailto:parentingnet-on@mail-list.com

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