Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Kidsgoals Advice Column

Cassie and I are always thrilled when we receive email from our readers. This email came from a lady that we will call V to protect her anonymity.

Dear Monicka

I have a eight year boy and I just can not get him to listen to me. I try
talking in a nice low voice I try encouragement and then there are days I
just yell because I just don't know what to do.....he is a bright boy but
wants to do what he wants when he wants...my other son did not fully mature
until he was 12.........do I have 4 more years to go or what??????????

From V

This seems to be a common problem with parents. They try talking softly asking nicely all to no avail, and before they know it they have reached the end of their tether and the only thing left to do is yell.

Dear V

Thank you so much for your email and question. Cassie and I love getting
feedback from our subscribers and will try and help with parenting advice
when we can. While parenting is never a one size fits all and some things
may work better than other things depending on the child, I think that in
this case the following advice may be just the ticket for your dilemma.

Being a Mom is not an easy job at the best of times V and
sometimes we find that yelling seems to be the only quick solution to
get your child’s attention. Keep in mind that this parenting technique
has consequences. What tends to happen is that initially the yelling
will work and then you will soon find that the yelling seems to be the
only way to get your son's attention and then slowly but surely your son
will start to even tune out the yelling. Kids want attention and to them
it doesn't matter if it is positive attention or negative attention.
What you have to realize is that attention from you is like a present to
your boy and he will use whatever means he has to make sure he gets
enough of it.

Because any attention is better than no attention from you, your son is
not listening to you when you ask nicely time and time again. When you are
finally at the end of your rope and you start to yell and get excited, he
thinks Aha! Now I have Mom's undivided attention and this is how I get it.
So what you have to do is show him that when he misbehaves he will not get
the attention he craves so desperately from you. Instead, look for the
times when he is being a good boy and lavish attention on him. Praise him
for getting dressed or hanging up his coat without being asked. Hug him
and say, "You are an awesome kid for hanging up your coat, thank you so
much!!!" He doesn't have to do anything monumental to get your praise and
hugs, anything small will do and make sure he knows you are sincere.

Please keep in mind that this is going to take a bit of extra work on
your part because you have to constantly be aware of what your child is
doing. You will be surprised how fast your boy will clue in that when he
is good he gets lots of attention and hugs and when he misbehaves, not so
much. When his behavior is bad there must be a consequence, such as a
favorite toy or video game taken away for a day or he can't watch
television or play with his friend. It has to be something he will really
miss. At your child's age time outs don't seem to work. I find that by
losing something my child really likes for a bit they get the message
loud and clear that the behavior will NOT be tolerated and there will be
a consequence to their action. You must be firm and look them in the eye
but do not under any circumstances get excited or upset and yell. Use a
tone of voice that says you mean what you say and follow through on your
promise. DONOT let him talk you out of losing the privilege even if he
says he promises to do better if you don't take his toy or game or
whatever away. Make sure you walk the talk or he will learn how to
manipulate you and totally lose respect for you. You are his parent and
you are here to teach him that he will be rewarded for good behavior and
his bad behavior will have a consequence. It is important that you say
you are not pleased with the behavior but you still love him. NEVER call
him a bad boy.This method is called Positive Reinforcement and it works
like a charm if you work it. The change will not happen overnight but if
you are consistent you will be surprised at how quickly your son's
behavior will change for the better.

I really appreciate your email and I hope this helps. Cassie and I have
written two articles on the kidsgoals website that will give you even more
information about discipline and the positive reinforcement technique one
is called Effective Loving Discipline and the other one is Positive

Hope that helps. Keep in touch and let us know how it works out for you.
All the best.

Happy Parenting :-)


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