I yelled at my kids…and IT WORKED!

by Evil Erin via Flickr

by Evil Erin via Flickr

We were in a hurry… OK, I was in a hurry because I slept late and was not feeling it this morning. I dragged out of bed and didn’t feel like dealing with the kids yet, so I took a shower – a long one. When I peeked at the clock from underneath my towel as I dried my hair, I noticed I had fallen even further behind. Half-dressed, I stormed into to kid #1’s room, flipped on the light and said, “get up, get up–WE are late and you need to hurry!” As she rubbed her eyes not knowing what happened, I threw open the door to kid #2’s room, turned on the light and shouted orders like a scene from some Navy Seals training documentary. Fifteen minutes later of getting my stuff together and 45 seconds of microwaving something that even Aunt Jemima would not recognize as a waffle, I checked on the kids again. Continue reading

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Setting things up for better behavior…or worse?

Photo by Ray Bouknight via Flickr

Photo by Ray Bouknight via Flickr

“This child just cannot sit still”

It was my first year of graduate school and my first behavior analysis professor asked the class what seemed to be a fairly easy question regarding a student’s behavior. She said,

Johnny cannot sit still in his seat. He is always fidgeting, and moving around. What would you do?

Take a moment and think about what you might have said…

As I remember, the common responses were something like this:

“Reinforce him for sitting calmly in his seat”

“Give him stickers for sitting, and do it a lot at first”

“Praise him when he sits still…tell him how good he is doing”

“When he is wiggling in his seat, tell him how to sit nicely”

There might have even been a response of “just ignore it…”

The professor had a lesson to teach and it is a lesson I would like to share today.

She showed a picture of a seat filled with thumbtacks. Continue reading

Your “map” to better behavior

the map

Knowing where you are going and when you are going to get there always makes a trip go easier. What does this have to do with your child’s behavior?

I have talked a lot on BehaviorBandAid about the value of predictability, being prepared and having a plan. There is no substitution for having a proactive plan and preventing behavior problems before they arise.

I never thought, though, that a valuable behavior lesson would come from a bi-lingual cartoon named Dora, but you take what you can get. Continue reading

Teaching rudeness!

Photo by The U.S. Army via Flickr

Photo by The U.S. Army via Flickr

How many times do we look at our children, sometimes in disgust or with red faces and say, “that was RUDE!” Or, better yet, we ask our kids, “why would you do something so rude?” We already know the answer to this question…and they do not.

A comedian I once heard recounted a story of being at a local pool with his 4 year old son. As the story was told, an overweight lady wearing a Guess jeans T-shirt with the word “GUESS?” written in bold across the front walked by. The child walked up to her, turned his head to the side and said, “200? 250?”

GASP.

Things such as “rudeness,” “politeness,” and other social rules and boundaries are learned over time, experience after experience. Our role as parents is to show our kids where these lines are, but more importantly, to give them experiences that will result in positive outcomes so they will be more likely to engage in that socially acceptable behavior again. Continue reading

When your kid says “NO!”

Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov via Flickr

Are there times when you think your child’s favorite word is, “NO?”

Whether it is picking up socks, eating a few measly carrots at dinner, or going to bed, your kid is going to tell you “no.” So how should you handle that?

Here are a few things to remember: Continue reading

5 Lessons your mom taught you about parenting

Photo by Chris. P via Flickr

The lessons your parents taught you when you were young were meant to shape your behavior as you grew. Although they might not have intended these lessons to be advice for how to best parent your own kids, I think we should revisit those things your parents told you and listen now as parents and not children.

1. “If you dont have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”  Continue reading

Backseat brawls – How to handle the kids in the car

photo by Will Hale via Flickr

It was pouring down rain and I could hardly see. The windshield wipers barely kept up with the sheets of heavy rain. The only thing I saw was the flashing hazard lights of the car in front of me. People were pulling over.

I plowed through. Wheel gripped tightly, eyes squinted, I plowed through…

because the two kids in the back seat were about to tear each other’s face off. I think they were collaborating with each other to see how much they could annoy me.

There wasn’t a storm in the world that was going to delay me getting home and getting out of the Hell hole that was my vehicle. The kids might be possessed. Continue reading