Reinforce Positive Behavior in Your Children

Engage with the West Michigan Woman Community!

Relationships-NaughtyChildNo matter the age, background or culture, the desire for attention is universal. Attention can be sought in positive or negative ways, but ultimately, sticking to the positive is a more effective way to achieve the desired response. You can prove to your children that they are significant by acknowledging their positivity and useful contributions. Do not spend time acknowledging negative attention seeking. In this way, you will exemplify the uselessness of behavioral misconduct.

"Attention should never be given on demand, even for positive acts, because doing so reinforces their inappropriate desire for attention," says Etienne Gibbs, Management Consultant and Trainer.

Instead, help them to make positive behavior the default by encouraging them to see themselves and their abilities confidently.

Some children get a feeling of power from bossing or bullying others. They act the way they want regardless of rules. Be mindful of children who seem to be following rules but only do so in their own time and on their own terms. Gibbs calls this artificial obedience "defiant compliance." Dealing with the issue is best done with a level head. Wait until both parties are calm before address the matter because getting upset will only worsen the situation.

"Train yourself to improve your relationship…by remaining calm and showing them goodwill," Gibbs says.

If you find your child manipulative, it is probably because she feels inadequate. In this case, the child has a tendency to hide her true wanting and instead influence others in creative ways to get her desired result. To the child, she is succeeding in securing what she wants, but in reality, this type of manipulation is false and "gently aggressive," Gibbs says.

"Train yourself to eliminate criticism, and focus, instead, on their assets, strengths, and abilities. Look for ways to help them, as I like to call it, 'maximize their potential,'" Gibbs says.

Better behavior can be achieved in a positive way when you remember that misbehavior can be squelched with discouragement.

"Discouraged people lack the courage to behave in an active, productive, ad constructive manner," Gibbs says.

Source: Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, Management Consultant and Trainer, conducts lectures, seminars, and workshops, and writes articles on helping you maximize your potential for individuals, schools, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. Photo credit:  mdanys

More stories you'll love