Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Tuesday Tidbits- First Edition
I do a lot of reading but I don't like fiction. I like reading about health, fitness, nutrition, and child-rearing. I like reading about how to be more focused on God. On my nightstand, I currently have, Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World by Jill Rigby & 1,001 Ways to Introduce Your Child to God by Kathier Reimer, and His Word in my Heart by Janet Pope. I find great articles online, too, and thought I'd start devoting one day a week to sharing information that is useful to me in hopes that someone else will find a tidbit worth using.
Lately I have been really working to nurture the positive actions I see in Adam. He has been whining a lot lately, and it drives me crazy. I know I respond to it or else he wouldn't do it so often. So many times, kids don't get noticed for making good choices, but they sure get noticed when they make bad ones! Behaviors that don't get noticed eventually fade away. Of course, I am not saying that there aren't certain behaviors that require a parental response. Please don't get me wrong. What is amazing, though is what can be accomplished when simply ignoring the behavior you don't want and focusing on the behaviors you do want.
Think of yourself as a gardener. You cultivate and encourage desirable plants and discourage the growth of the undesirable things in your garden. If you want your kids to be well-behaved and happy, nurture the beautiful flowers, not the weeds.
I used to be so good at this, and really need to put more energy in this area, so I did a little reading this week to help me refocus on being more deliberate about where I focus my attention.
Here is a two-step technique that has been quite helpful to me as I try to celebrate the things I want to see more of and stop responding to the whining.
1. Look for behavior that shows maturity, such as handling disappointment calmly, being kind, or using good manners. Make a note of it.
2. Later in the day, remind the child of what you saw. "Remember when you said, 'Excuse me' when you needed me to step out of your way?" Once you are sure the child remembers the situation, praise the child & spend some one time doing something with the child that her or she enjoys. (Azerrad, 2001)
I am keeping notes to myself on the white board beside my desk throughout the day. Adam & I have a routine at night when I tuck him in. We always talk about our day & I compliment him on good choices. The notes I keep have been helpful for our "pillow talk" time but more importantly give me the reminders I need for more immediate reinforcement during the day. (Karp, 2008)
Some of my personal tips on giving effective compliments to children:
Be specific. "Good job" isn't always enough. Try something like, "I know you were disappointed when I said you couldn't have another popcicle. I like how you said, 'Okay, Mommy' and went to play. You handled that like a grown up."
Let them own the pride. I try not to say, "I'm proud of you." Instead, I like to say, "You should be proud of yourself." I want my child to own the pride, not me. Eventually we want our kids doing things because they have intrinsic motivation and feel good doing the right thing, not because they want to make someone else happy.
Have a good day, accentuating the positive and celebrating the things you want to see more of. This isn't only effective with our children. Try it with your grown-up loved ones, too. We all like to be appreciated for the things we do right!
And I promise the rest of our road trip pictures will be up soon!
Azerrad, J. (2001). Why our kids are out of control. Retrieved from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200109/why-our-kids-are-out-control
Karp, H. (2008). The Happiest Toddler on the Block. New York: Bantam Dell.