Monday, August 10, 2009

Lots of words = lots of attention

When we respond to our children’s misbehavior using lots of words, we are giving them a lot of attention. This may be negative attention but any attention will encourage a behavior to continue. So it’s a good idea to limit the words we use.

For example, one dad described a situation where his daughter was begging him to buy a stuffed bear at the store. He had already told her he wouldn’t buy it for her and then she started in with “oh p-l-l-le-e-e-e-e-a-s-s-e Daddy, I’ll be really good the rest of the day if I can just have it.” Instead of launching into an explanation of why he wasn’t buying it, he just responded “What was my answer?”

Short responses to behaviors like whining and begging will help extinguish those behaviors. The more attention we pay to a behavior, the more likely we are to see that behavior. Save your words for the good behavior!

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