Parenting Classes - Discipline. Learning to praise your child will get great results.
Discipline is one of the hardest parts of parenting. If you understand your parenting style (see lesson one), you know the things you need to change in order to provide the best care possible for your children. But knowing what we need to change does not show us how to make that change.
This series of parenting help topics will give you ways to change.
Today’s Parenting topic is Power Struggles Using Praise To Change Behavior.
Consider five year old Aaron. Aaron is a bully. He bullies his playmates, his siblings, and even his parents. When playing, it’s not unusual to see Aaron grab a toy out of another child’s hands and then hit the child with it before walking away with the toy. His parents have given up trying to discipline him when he acts out. It always escalates to more than they can handle.
I sat down with Aaron's mother to help her change her parenting technique. Here is how it went:
Aaron takes a toy truck from his brother. Mom catches him and says: “Aaron, you give that back right now. He was playing with it.”
Aaron ignores her.
Mom plants herself in front of Aaron. “I said give it back. Now!”
Aaron continues to ignore her and begins playing with the truck.
Mom tries taking the truck away from Aaron. He struggles. He screams. He kicks. He throws a full blown temper tantrum. Mom gives up. Aaron has won.
But, in this parenting situation, everyone has just lost.
Mom has lost because she handed control over to a five year old. Aaron has lost because he is not learning valuable lessons needed to get through life. What can Mom do to discipline this out-of-control child?
Let’s back up to the very moment it happened.
Aaron takes the toy truck from his brother. – Now, mom pretty much knows what will happen here, but she does the same thing that she has always done. She tells him to give it back. This hasn’t worked in the past, it won’t work now.
She has just entered a power struggle. One that she will only win by force. Controlling our kids by force is not a good method. It will create untrusting, unwilling kids with low self esteem. Our goal is to create kids who make good decisions.
Now there are several parenting techniques she can try here. The one I recommended was: - look for a way to praise him.
That makes absolutely no sense right? OK, let’s break it down.
So, how can mom praise Aaron and give him good attention
for taking the toy away from his brother?
Aaron will probably still be a little distrusting, but
mom has taken the first step.
The key to this parenting situation is praise. When your child understands that it is possible to get praise from you, he will look for ways to earn praise. Be vigilant. Look for ways to praise your child. But, remember, too much praise and your child may stop believing you. Praise is a balancing act. You need it - but not too much or you risk having your child wonder if you are just saying it to make him feel good.