Ways to Change Your Children’s Behavior

January 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Family, Parenting

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This YouTube video has some great points, and I am frustrated that they call these suggestions “sneaky strategies.”  I don’t think they are sneaky at all…but rather good, effective ways of interacting and parenting your children!  However, as a child psychologist, I am totally opposed to one of their suggestions: the use of ‘reverse psychology.’ Basically, when you tell kids not to do something and then reward them for doing the opposite, they are being taught not to listen to their parents, and that parents really don’t mean what they say!

Here are the suggestions that I do agree with, but in a much more supportive and less sarcastic manner than the movie makers:

  • Tell your children what they should do, rather than focus on what they shouldn’t do.
  • Give your kids choices.  Even toddlers can choose to wear the red shirt or the green shirt.  This gives them a feeling of control and validation.
  • Turn commands into challenges:  “Bet you can’t eat up all that broccoli on your plate!” 
  • Add silly elements to required behavior:  “Let’s try hoppin on one foot all the way into the bathroom to brush teeth.”
  • Break bad habits by using what they call a ‘bribe jar,’ but what I call a rewards jar.  You can do this in one of two ways:  either put money/token into the jar whenever you see the desired behavior (i.e.–being nice to her sister,) which is my preferred way; or put money in a jar and take some out everytime your child does the undesirable behavior (i.e.–hitting her sister.)  My emphasis is to always focus on the positive, reward the positive and set positive goals.
  • Remain calm when your kids are acting up.  Not necessarily an easy thing to do—but you are much more able to deal with the situation rationally when calm.  Remember:  When emotions go high, intelligence goes low.
  • Interesting fact:  Spanking used by parents has gone from an endorsement rate of 94% in 1968 to a rate of 61% in 2004.  Way to go parents!!

Enjoy your kids!

What do you think about these tips—are they really sneaky and tricky or useful ways to treat kids with respect?  Please feel free to comment below.


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  1. Ways to Change Your Children’s Behavior : Better Parenting Institute…

    This YouTubevideo has some great points, like telling kids what they should do rather than what they shouldn’t do. However, as a child psychologist, I am totally opposed to the use of ‘reverse psychology.’…