Parenting Information

Is Your Behavioural Change Strategy Working?


'How can I start getting my children to help out at home?'

Many parent ask me this question. My answer is simple - "It depends!"

Achieving a behavioural change in children is dependent on their age and stage of development, their temperament and attitude, and how set in their ways they are.

Let's look further at the above helping at home scenario. If the children are four years of age or younger then encouraging them to contribute to their family's well-being is relatively easy. Most children want to help at home in the early years so it is a matter of parents providing opportunities for them to help and also showing them how they can assist in positive ways. Helping out and independence are habit-forming so the message for parents is start early and hang in there. Young children can help set and clear away meal areas, clear away their toys and help make their beds. Don't get too fussed about the quality of their endeavours. They wear L-plates in the early years and the prime lesson for them is that they help their family and contribute to their own well-being.

Older children who may have done very little to help can be tough nuts to crack. How do you get a ten year old to help out if he or she has barely lifted a finger to assist in the previous decade? Basically, there are two methods parents can use to get some change in children when habits are entrenched. Either you try to achieve major change straight away or you work away at the margins to affect change.

A parent trying to promote independence in a child can go 'cold turkey' and insist that they get themselves up in the morning, make their own lunch, empty the dishwasher and do forth. This is a major change. Parents who take this approach frequently offer rewards such as pocket money or provision of special treats in exchange for help, however rewarders and bribers should be wary. Any parent offering rewards in exchange for help will need deep pockets as today's jellybeans soon becomes an electronic toy or something equally expensive. Besides they are teaching children to think 'what's in this for ME, rather than WE.' Such parents may be replacing one habit (dependence) with another (self-centredness). !!. I suggest that parental insistence that their children help backed up by sincere and genuine appreciation when they have done the right thing are strong motivators for most kids.

Alternatively, parents can work at the margins and get their children to help little by little. For instance, packing their own lunch may precede making it. Unpacking the cutlery may precede emptying the whole dishwasher. Cleaning ten toys away may precede cleaning the whole room if they have never done it before. Using this method the helping habits sneaks up on children and takes them by surprise.

Either approach is legitimate however sometimes when parents meet with resistance from children or change seems so overwhelming it is better to play around at the margins and go for small changes. We often use the same principle to put some order in our lives when everything seems chaotic. Sometimes just cleaning the clutter away in a bedroom or tidying a desk can help us feel in control and a little clearer when life seems totally disorganised.

Working away at the margins is a strategy many parents have used successfully when they want to get some behavioural change happening at home. Even if children seem totally out of control look for small areas where you achieve some change. Maybe start with them using better manners when they talk with you or insisting they sit at the meal table until everyone has finished. Often small successes bring monumental improvements. Positive change tends to have a snowball affect. Like a snowball rolling down a slope it gathers momentum and increases in size very rapidly.

So what is your usual change strategy? If you get overwhelmed and don't know where to start then try starting small and working away at the margins. Start where you know you can experience some success and the change will accelerate.

Michael Grose is a popular parenting educator and parent coach. He is the director of Parent Coaching Australia, the author of six books for parents and a popular presenter who speaks to audiences in Australian Singapore and the USA. For free courses and resources to help you raise happy kids and resilient teenagers visit http://www.parentingideas.com.au

  


MORE RESOURCES:

Funniest Parenting Tweets: What Moms And Dads Said On Twitter This Week
Huffington Post
Kids may say the darndest things, but parents tweet about them in the funniest ways. So each week, we round up the most hilarious 140-character quips from moms and dads to spread the joy. Scroll down to read the latest batch and follow @HuffPostParents ...



The News-Press

Parenting: One perfect date night
The News-Press
Mommy bloggers and parenting experts tell us all the time that you have to carve out time for just the two of you. Stephen and I know this and we preach it, too, but life gets in the way sometimes. Before you know it, you can't remember the last time ...



The Inquisitr

Parenting Tips On Diapers? New Proposals In The U.K. Are Being Discussed
The Inquisitr
Even though quite a few parenting experts and doctors favor the idea of printing parenting tips on diapers, there are others that do not feel the same way. For instance, Dr. Ellie Lee of the Centre for Parenting and Culture Studies located at the ...



'Shared parenting' bills to come up in session
Lincoln Journal Star
"There hasn't been a real hard push to bring our parenting plans into conformance with what research shows is the right thing to do." Opponents argue that such bills could create more family fighting and a one-size-fits-all approach that ties a judge's ...

and more »


Appleton Post Crescent

Parenting a 20-something couch potato? Experts offer advice
Appleton Post Crescent
If you have a high school or college student who prefers video games over studies, be sure you as the parent aren't contributing to the problem. (Photo: Getty Images ). 5 CONNECT 10 TWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE. Got a high school or college ...



Ramblings, rumblings from the parenting files
Pueblo Chieftain
From the I'm Sorry to Have to Tell You Department: Parents who say they want to raise kids who “think for themselves” are not being exactly truthful. It's a nice and very democratic thing to say, for sure, but let's face it, folks, you want your kids ...



Parenting Seminar
WBKB-TV
Parents gathered at New Life Christian Fellowship to discuss this months topic, Prepare and Protect. The seminar was free of charge to attend and breakfast and information pamphlets were available as well. A short film on parenting was shown and ...

and more »


Daily Mail

Parenting tips could be printed on diapers encouraging parents to talk more
Daily Mail
The Behavioural Insights Team, also known as the 'nudge unit' are to consider the plan, which would see parenting tips written on nappies. The idea was discussed during a recent meeting of the World Economic Forum in Dubai, which was attended by the ...



I'm a die-hard liberal. It ruined my parenting.
Washington Post
I'm a diehard, bleeding-heart liberal. And it's ruining my parenting. My intentions are good. I want my two daughters, 6, to think critically, to fight for fairness and justice whenever they can. I want them to value equality above all else. But ...



A doctor's perspective on parenting
Montana Standard
Time was running out for my patient and his wife. We had just finished his exam when he casually mentioned that he and his wife were thinking of "starting a family." What he really meant was that their biological clock was winding down and they felt ...


Google News

Article List | Index | Site Map
All logos, trademarks and articles on this site are property and copyright of their respective owner(s).
The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is Copyright © 2006 CanadaSEEK.com - All Rights Reserved.