In part 1 of this post, we saw some techniques to promote good behavior such as praise, selective ignoring, using of rewards, motivators and reminders, and so on. Here are some more effective techniques to promote good behavior in kids –
1. Negotiate – Many parents tend to think that willingness to negotiate is a sign of weakness, that children will see it as such. In fact negotiating can strengthen authority because it can foster feelings of respect for a parent.
When a parent is willing to listen to the child’s side of the story, they can appear more approachable and tractable this can become an important behavior management tool for parents, particularly when it is adolescents they have to deal with, since showing willingness to compromise can be reassuring to the child.
Consider a situation in which a child is unwilling to go to bed at the prescribed time – parents say 9, the child says 10.
Try asking the child why and see if it is a suitable activity – perhaps a few minutes of reading in bed and perhaps on weekends that 9 could stretch to 10? That way parents are satisfied that the primary motive of having the child get enough sleep is met, and the child is satisfied to have made some headway.
2. Privilege withdrawal – This tactic works to correct behavior – if a child holds up their end of a bargain, then parents agree to confer certain privileges. For instance not doing well in tests could mean withdrawal or curtailment of TV viewing or video game privileges. The child doesn’t have to view this as a punishment; explain that if there were poor marks obtained in a test that could mean that the child was spending insufficient time on studies and too much on other activities. Privileges can be restored when behavior improves.
3. Cut the nagging and negative commenting – Nagging or nattering does not improve behavior, it can actually worsen it. It can be particularly disadvantageous among kids with poor self image. Nagging can make a child nervous; and gives the impression that you don’t trust the child to do a good job by themselves.
4. Have a meeting – Having a family meeting is a democratic and productive way to decide rules of the house, consequences of not keeping to them and cases in which privileges will be withheld. Here schedules, chore apportioning and other items can be discussed. And don’t forget to make meetings fun!