Our Monday tip today is Separate Out that Behavior. Learn more about all the “Pillars of Parenting” with this introduction…
Once you separate out mistaken behavior (what most people refer to as misbehavior) from your child, you change the dynamics of discipline, and …ahhh, it all gets easier.
The anger starts to go, and it starts to feel better.
For example, by separating, you can change “You spilled the milk!” to “The milk spilled!”
Much better! What happens next? Let’s find out!
Maybe you placed the glass too close to the edge of the table or maybe you discovered that you had filled the glass too high. Another possibility, maybe you should have used a plastic cup instead of a glass, or maybe the milk was a poor choice in the first place. In any of these cases, you may find out that you have been the cause. That is a new twist!
Identifying the cause of a mistaken behavior is important. Once the cause is out in the open, you are in a much better position to be able to prevent that same situation from happening in the future.
If you do discover that your child did not create the problem and is not the cause, there is no need to give any kind of consequence or withdraw any kind of reward. All you need to do is explain what happened, reassure your child, and continue with what you and your child need to do.
If by chance, on the other hand, it turns out that your child did cause the problem, go over the whole situation carefully. If there was no bad intent on the part of your child and you think the mishap itself was punishment enough for what happened, you are done. However, if it does turn out that your child did do something on purpose, explain that you understand what happened, forgive, and then yes, go ahead and teach your child how not to make that same mistake again.
Teaching is the critical link.
Here are the three tenets for handing problem behavior in a positive way: Understand, Forgive, Teach! They are wonderful, and they work!
* This tip is based on Pillar #5: Separate the Behavior from your child.
Scroll back to review previous tips and learn more about the first five “Pillars of Parenting.”
~ Dr. Sally