- End any criticism with a positive statement of expected
behavior. ("Tell your kids what you want!")
The expected behavior must be stated in very specific, behavioral terms your kids can
understand. Remember, just because you said something, does not mean your children
heard it, understood it, and can translate what you said into productive action. Also,
before you can communicate to your children precisely what it is you want them to
. you must decide exactly what you do want.
Once you have in mind a very specific idea of exactly what it is you want your children to
do, many times your strategy to bring about that behavior will become very obvious. Always
keep in mind that it helps if you will include a "sales pitch" explaining why
your desired behavior will bring about positive and rewarding outcomes for your kid.
- Criticize performance and not the person.
Criticism is often necessary in working with the behavior of children, but it must remain
a criticism of just the behavior. As a matter of fact, most of the time it
is possible to give the person a compliment while the behavior is being corrected. This
sounds easy, but it takes great care and planning to do it. Plan ahead.
- Do not assume they have heard it simply because you have said
Repetition is fundamental to all learning. It is rare that we ever learn anything on a
first exposure, and our children are no different. KIDS ARE PEOPLE TOO. So, remember that
when you set out to teach them something and accept the fact that you, most likely, will
have to repeat it a couple of times. KEEP THE ANGER OUT! Also, remember that if you have
repeated something a number of times and your kids are still not doing it, then you need
to find another way to say it. (Remember when you repeat it that there are many ways to
It does not matter what you say; it is what
they say to themselves that counts.
Self - motivation is the only kind of motivation. No
matter how much you would like to motivate and control your children, the controlling
force in their lives will be what they tell themselves. If I were speaking to you it would
not matter what I said, if you were repeating over and over in your head "Boy, he
certainly doesn't know what he is talking about." Our techniques which we use with
our children must always be aimed at guiding our children to phrase positive statements to
themselves. One of the most effective ways to do this is to teach your children the
fundamentals of values clarification and goal setting.
Send a constant and continual message of LOVE.
We do not know how it is that humans learn language. But we do know that
the particular language all humans speak is simply the language that they are exposed
to... and that is the key, because love is a language! If we wish to have our children
speak the language of love, then we must make sure we expose them to it on a continuous
basis. There are two important corollaries to sending a message of love to our kids:
A. Love is not just
something you say; it is also something you do. (You can fake like you care but you can't
fake being there. To send a message of love to your children you must show up. Love is not
a spectator sport.)
B. The time they
most need to hear it, is the time you feel least able to say it. When you are at the point
of sending your children out to live in the street, that is probably the time when their
heart is most open to receive your message.
Assignment Sheet - Lesson 2
Identify one behavior in each of your children
that you would like to have them exhibit. This may be something that the child already
does and you wish to replace with a new and more productive one, or it might just be
something that you would like to see your child adopt. Describe the desired behavior in
detail here. (If you are attempting to eliminate a particular behavior describe it in
Read through the list of "Five Rules For
Parents" and pick the one rule that you feel will work the best to help you to begin
developing the behavior you selected in #1. List that rule here by copying it from your
Describe the specific strategy that you intend to
use each day, until class meets again. This is the strategy that you will use to attempt
to build your chosen behavior in your child by applying the rule you selected in #2.
Keep a daily record of your actions, your
childs actions, and any observations that you have as you go through this process
for a week. Remember to record both positive and negative actions, reactions and
Come to the next class prepared to discuss what
took place in your family over the week. In this space make notes of comments that you
would like to make comment about at the next class meeting.
Please keep in mind that the purpose of these
exercises is to maximize the number of positive and productive ideas that are stored in
your mind and the minds of your children. In order to do this you must actually try to
structure effective thoughts in your own head as you plan strategies. Then you must
observe the resulting behavior in your children.
Remember that unless your child chooses to tell
you what ideas are in their head, the only way you have of knowing what ideas are stored
in their head is by observing their behavior; so pay close attention. A big part of this
process involves not only creating positive change but also observing strategies that did
not work and then devising new and better ones that will work. So, as you go through this
process do not be the least bit hesitant to list things that didnt work! Sometimes
our best teacher is a mistake. The only time a mistake is counted as a failure is if you
let it be the last time you try.
Also, when you try something that doesnt
work remember the important phrase: "keep the anger out!" Anger rarely results
in productive thought processes and effective action.
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