After reflecting on the situation, she realized the attention she was giving him for his screaming was actually encouraging him to do it more often. This was the opposite of what she wanted! Her new plan was to periodically go find him when he wasn't screaming and compliment him on his behavior. She also decided to ignore his screams of frustration. This new approach worked far better!
Paying Attention to Good Behavior
Since paying attention to our children's good behavior doesn't seem to come naturally to most of us, it's going to take effort to do this. We need to specifically watch for our children to behave well and then acknowledge it.
There are many ways to reward good behavior:
- A light touch on the shoulder, a quick back rub
- A smile, hug or kiss
- Saying "Thank you."
- Kind words, words of encouragement
Statements like these acknowledge children's good behavior:
- "I noticed that you put away the puzzle after you were done playing with it. That was great."
- "I heard you practicing your trumpet. It's really sounding good."
- "I appreciated how you held my hand when we crossed that busy street."
- "Thanks for helping set the table."
- "I love how well you're sharing the markers."
By pointing out our children's good behavior, we will be encouraging their appropriate behavior while filling our homes with more positive energy. This is just what we want!
Give Attention to Behaviors You Want to Increase
Children crave attention and when they can't get positive attention they will go for negative attention. Our job is to make sure we're giving them so much positive attention that they don't need to misbehave to get attention!