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Manners and Discipline Topics..

You are here : home > Manners and Discipline > The Hyperactive Child > Catch A Kid Doing Good!

Catch A Kid Doing Good!

Gary Direnfeld is a child-behaviour expert, a social worker, and the author of Raising Kids Without Raising Cane. Gary provides insight on issues ranging from child behaviour management and development; to family life; to socially responsible business development. Courts in Ontario, Canada consider Gary an expert on matters pertaining to child development, custody and access, family/marital therapy and social work.

Don't just check your child when he's being naughty. Catch him when he's behaving well, and praise him for it.

The day starts with mom yelling at Aryan to stop running in the kitchen. In the afternoon, she yells at him to finish off his lunch. After lunch, she slaps him for jumping on the sofas with his dirty shoes. Now, as Aryan is throwing his toys about his bedroom and taking his car apart, mom is about to lose it with him…

Avoid yelling 

Frustrated parents of young children are constantly yelling at them, because they do not know how else to get them to pay attention. Research shows that yelling and spanking often creates new problems. Children who are continually shouted at or spanked tend to be more aggressive in the playground, have less developed problem-solving skills and lower self-esteem. In addition, they are so used to your yelling that they will not pay attention to anything you say, unless you yell at them!

However, when parents use other skills for gaining compliance and co-operation, children tend to be better adjusted, play more co-operatively and respond better to their parents' words.

Here's how it works:

Imagine there are two dogs inside your home - one good and the other bad. Now imagine they are fighting constantly. Which one will win the fight? The one you feed! Why? Because you are strengthening it!

Feed the positive

Children's behaviour works the same way. Feed the negative and you will increase this behaviour. Feed the positive and you will see more positive behaviour. And the food of behaviour is your attention.

Unfortunately, many parents focus on catching children when they are misbehaving. Every time they yell 'Stop it!' they are feeding the wrong dog. This has got to change. The main focus must not be on catching misbehaviour. The focus must be on catching children doing things right.

So now mom tries something different. As Aryan is running she tells him to stop running and to play quietly with his Lego set, in the family room. As Aryan is playing quietly, mom goes over to him and simply mentions how nicely he is playing. Aryan continues to play quietly and several minutes later, mom goes to him and mentions it again. They smile at each other and mom gives Aryan a hug.

The truth of the matter is that Aryan was actually a good listener and had always been a good listener. Every time mom told him to stop doing something, he stopped, and started doing something else. The problem is, mom never really told him what to do.

Provide feedback

We cannot assume that children will automatically know what to do when we tell them what not to do. Tell your child directly what you expect and follow it up with feedback when they do it. Feedback is how you give attention to feed behaviour.

For feedback, all you have to do is mention the very behaviour the child is doing. You are playing quietly. You ate your broccoli. You shared your toy. If you forget to mention it as the behaviour is occurring, mention it later, at bedtime. You put the crayons away this afternoon, all by yourself!

The key is not to withhold feedback, but to provide it for appropriate behaviour. Whenever you see your child doing something you would like to see repeated, provide feedback.

Remember, catch a kid doing good, and tell them! You'll both be glad you did.

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Payal.3 years ago
When good manners and disciplines in child are praised and encouraged then they always try to follow the same. Feeding the positive will definitely make any child to behave properly and do not misbehave.
Shyam.8 years ago
always pay attention on your child what he wants, we should to listen to him. if we ignore him then he will definetly do some wrong to attract your attention.
Suva.8 years ago
wonderful article...i am sure lot of parents will find this useful.keep it up !
Melinda.8 years ago
i really enjoyed this article.i,m glad i,m not the only parent that finds herself yelling, will take advice thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
sha.8 years ago
this is a wonderful site and esp.for a parent like me!!
o my child is is just 2yrs 6 mths old but he is simply impossible at times...hence the result.. by the end of the day i find myself yelling at everybody for no reason...
but now i will surely try to divert his mind to doing something constructive when he opens the fridge for no reason or washes the dishes or mops the floor or throws all the show pieces here n there or switch off the t.v.when everyone is watching a good movie !!!!!!
diya.8 years ago
the article is too good to tends to loose patience handlin kids.but yeah the advice given is good n if followed can make wonders.shud get more of such inspirational lines.
suma.8 years ago
i agree with diya....need more articles like this.
Padma.8 years ago
this is a very good article. my son's school in california does a similar thing. the teacher catches the kids doing good acts which might be picking up things that have accidently fallen down in the class room or helping the next kid fix something. the kid is then presented a small certificate by the school prinicpal in the monday assembly in front of the whole school. i just love the way they encourage kids to continue to do good things. i wish every school would do that !! we often spend time pointing out the wrong kids do but hardly ever acknowledge or praise them for the good things they do.
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