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April 30, 2015
Explain New Approaches Before You Start
When you decide to change your approach to a particular problem you see in your children, explain to them what you’re going to do. This may sound obvious but sometimes parents get fed up with a particular problem and then surprise the child with changes.
Each parent has an action point that determines the rules of the game for both parent and child in the discipline process. If you try to change your action point without explanation, children will often feel hurt and resentful. Although you have never clarified it before, you have encouraged your children to respond the way they do. In order to change the rules, you need to sit down and explain what you’re doing.
If you’re now going to give a consequence right away for arguing, explain that first. If you’ve decided to remove video time for a child who doesn’t clean up his room, tell him in advance. If you will now require a child to take a Break when he starts to get angry, explain this to him in advance. These explanations often go a long way to motivate children to change.
Imagine yourself learning a new game. You’re trying to play but the other person knows the rules and takes advantage of you. How do you feel? That’s how our children feel when they’re trying to play the game of discipline and we keep changing the rules. Make the rules clear and be sure your child understands what you expect and what the consequences are for wrong choices.
For more practical ideas on making changes in your home, consider our newest book, Motivate Your Child Action Plan by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. Each chapter contains ideas for meeting with your child to explain that part of the plan and prepare your child for the changes that are coming.