Behavior change can be difficult.  It takes time.  There is no “golden pill.”  When I suggest certain parenting changes or a new strategy, sometimes it can be immediately effective because it puts in place certain prevention strategies and takes advantage of very strong desires of the child.  A lot of times it is not that easy or quick to take hold. 


Because you are not only teaching your child, “hey, this new way is better,” you are trying to teach your child, “hey, the old way isn’t going to work anymore.”  Also, the new way is probably more effortful than the old way, even though the benefits are greater.  For example, cleaning your room is more effortful than not cleaning your room, even though we get to have ice cream after you are done cleaning.   Ever thought about that?

Experiences rather than time

Another thing to think about is experience.  We all must have experiences to learn from, not just “the rules.” I will talk about learning “opportunities” soon, but it is important to know there are very few times we learn something after a single experience.  Most involve terrible pain or discomfort (or a bottle with a worm at the bottom).  All other learning comes from multiple experiences of what happens when we do one thing versus the other.  This takes time.  You can reduce the chronological time it takes to learn something by increasing the number of experiences the child has with a particular behavior or “opportunity” such as following directions or cleaning his room.  

If you decide, after reviewing everything, and maybe after reading something I’ve suggested, to make a change in your parenting style or even in your response to your child when she throws a tantrum, make a concerted effort to stick with it for a while and pay attention to what happens.  Many times, it gets tough because the old behavior isn’t working anymore.  Understand the behavior you are trying to replace has a history you are trying to undo, make informed decisions and give it some time. 

Remember, what you were doing wasn’t working either or you would not have changed in the first place.

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