Your childís room is always
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
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!