Parents need not search any further for the secret to changing their children's behavior and maintaining positive changes in their home. I have taught hundreds of parents how to motivate children to want to be well-behaved. Readers of my book When You’re About To Go Off The Deep End, Don’t Take Your Kids With You and thousands of my audience members are amazed to find the secret to changing behavior is much easier than they thought.
Fundamental Strategies for Changing Behavior
Many parents taking control of young children's behavior find it particularly challenging to change the patterns they have established in terms of acting and reacting. Review these three strategies and then give yourself just a few extra seconds to think before reacting to your child's next outburst.
1. Find your Child’s “Buy In” – Your child, like you, is motivated when they have an invested interest in changing. Find your child’s motivation and you’ve got it made. For instance, a child’s “buy in” to helping make dinner may be that they get to eat. If suddenly you “go on strike” and no one helps out, dinner is not made. You are guaranteed to have found your child (and maybe even your spouse’s) “buy in”.
2. Discipline with Joy – Instead of yelling and throwing a tantrum yourself, follow through and discipline with joy. Children do badly when they feel bad. Making a child feel worse about their action rarely inspires them to improve their behavior.
3. Follow-through – When you say you're going to do something, do it. Empty threats only teach your child to not listen to you.
Once you have mastered these three commonsense secrets to changing behavior, you can focus on maintaining the changes.
Maintaining the Change
There is only one skill I know of that works for maintaining any change—and that is consistency!
Consistency is the glue that maintains any change. If you are not consistent, long-term change is impossible. So do what you say, and keep doing it consistently until the change is permanent.
This may be difficult, especially when your children test you. You have been acting and reacting to their behavior in a certain way for a long time. When you suddenly change your behavior, your kids will tend to act up even more than at first.
The good news? Changing children’s behaviors for the better is possible when you are consistent. Since you want your kids to change their misbehavior permanently, you need to prove to them that you mean business and are committed to a new way of doing things. The great news is that generally after a week or two of being consistent, children will trust your follow-through enough to change themselves. At this point, you have lift off. You have mastered the secret of changing behavior and maintaining the change with your children!
Kelly Nault, MA author of When You’re About To Go Off The Deep End, Don’t Take Your Kids With You inspires moms to put themselves first—for the sake of their children. She shares time-tested tools that motivate children to want to be well behaved, responsible and happy! Sign up for her free online parenting course here
. You are free to print or publish this article provided the article and bio remain as written and include a link to http://www.mommymoments.com as above.