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:

Quartz

Why are we parenting as if our kids are in constant danger?
Quartz
It's a national story gone worldwide: the Meitiv children, ages 10 and 6, were picked up by cops in Silver Spring, Maryland, for the offense of walking home from the park on a sunny afternoon. Twice. For those unfamiliar with this most recent incident ...
'Free-range' flap fans the flames of a national debate on parentingWashington Post
Albom: Free-range children vs. close-minded parentingDetroit Free Press
Why we fear free-range parentingArkansas Online
American Thinker (blog) -Tribune-Review
all 68 news articles »


Delmarva Daily Times

Free-range parenting: Is it neglect?
Delmarva Daily Times
Maybe parents allow their children to play in their front or back yard without immediate supervision. Online, one anti-free range parenting “expert” screamed her opposition to allowing children to play in the front or backyard without adults present ...
Be a Helium Parent, Not a Helicopter OneTIME

all 4 news articles »


Yahoo Parenting

Why Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel's 'Normal' Baby Photo Is a Parenting Win
Yahoo Parenting
Justin Timberlake shows off a photo of wife Jessica Biel holding the couple's newborn baby Silas Randall Timberlake. (Photo: Justin Timberlake/Instagram). Baby Timberbiel is here! Not only did we get an up-close glimpse of Justin Timberlake and Jessica ...
Justin Timberlake & Jessica Biel Surprise The World With The FIRST Picture Of ...PerezHilton.com

all 434 news articles »


Dr. Randy Cale's Terrific Parenting: Part III On consistency: Keeping emotions ...
Troy Record
In our last two articles, we have addressed the critical importance of consistency in routines and in setting limits. Today, we will address the third part of the consistency triad: Parental emotions and the role of reactivity.

and more »


Entertainment Tonight

'Teen Mom' Stars Learn About Parenting by Watching Their Own Show
Entertainment Tonight
A new season of Teen Mom is back on MTV, but the faces are familiar favorites. ETonline caught up with original cast members Amber Portwood, Farrah Abraham, and Catelynn Lowell to discuss returning to the reality show centered on young moms and how ...

and more »


wreg.com

Universal Parenting Places hear from some parents on opening day
wreg.com
The centers reported hearing from some interested parents, but there were not lines out the door on the first day. “I haven't spoken with anyone personally as of yet, but phone calls have come in,” said Site Director Veronica Brooks late Monday morning.



Richmond.com

Dvorak: Kids are biggest victims in pathetic fight over parenting styles
Richmond.com
Somehow, we've morphed from being a village that helps raise children to a parenting police state. The Silver Spring, Md., siblings were about 2 1/2 blocks from their home Sunday a week ago when Montgomery County police got a call reporting them ...
Journal Times editorial: Parenting is not one size fits allJournal Times
Megan McArdle / 7 reasons we can't stand free-range parentingPress of Atlantic City
'Free-range' flap in Maryland fans flames of national debate on parentingReading Eagle
Patriot Post
all 8 news articles »


Huffington Post

One Thing That Always Improves My Parenting
Huffington Post
I'm totally guilty of a double standard and have not been following my own advice. As a parent educator, I spend a lot of time thinking about how adults treat children. I preach about kindness and connection. I go on and on about how we have to model ...



Yahoo Parenting

Real-Life Parenting Confessions
Yahoo Parenting
Child, forgive me, for I have sinned: I confess to taking naps on Sundays while my son plays Legos, because mommy had surgery just a few months ago and needs rest. (I really just want to rest. I'm fine). I confess to ordering pizza on a Thursday and ...



Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)

Free Cardiac Screenings for Student Athletes at Gwinnett Medical Group
Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)
Simon's Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to education, advocacy and innovation to protect children from sudden cardiac arrest and death. Gwinnett Medical Group is composed of multi-specialty physician practices employed by Gwinnett Health ...


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.