Secrets to Well Behaved Children

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CHILDREN HAVE A PURPOSE

Children are dependent on their caretakers for food, shelter, love, attention, and approval.  If they cannot get you approval and attention by doing good things, they will resort to doing whatever gets a reaction from you.  All of us are very busy every day and if the children are quiet it is easy to overlook them.  Children, who are overlooked, frequently decide to do something about it.  To some children, even punishment seems better than being overlooked.  In this handout, you will find some tips on how to improve your  children's behavior.

 

SHOW RESPECT

At home, we have a tendency to call out instructions to one another. This is something that most of us do not do at work or with company.  Some family members interpret this as a lack of respect for them and simply do not do what was asked of them.  If you have a child who ignores you when asked to do something, try the following:

1. Walk up to the child, and before you start speaking, make sure the child looks at you.

2. You can get the child to look at you, by either touching their arm or their face and saying "Look at me".

3. Once a child makes eye contact with you, you can make your request.

4. If the child consistently avoids looking at you and at all others, seek professional help.

Remember that your child is not the family dog.  The dog is happy to come running when you call, but then you never ask the dog to clean his room or do other unpleasant chores.

 

SHOW LOVE AND CATCH THEM BEING GOOD

Children need to know that you love them.  You do not need to tell them so in order for them to feel loved.  It is enough if you smile at them when they are looking at you, or give them a hug or caress their face, or kiss them once in a while.  If they are playing quietly in their room, you can look in on them and smile.  These gestures let them know that you love them and like having them around.

Taking time out in your busy schedule to be with your children is another way to show them that you love them and enjoy their company.

Those of you, who have teenagers, know that any show of attention brings a sneer.  However, if you stop trying to show them that you love them, they will be very upset and angry.  They still need your love, even though they temporarily forgot how to return it.

 

SHOW THAT YOU ARE THINKING OF THEM WHEN YOU ARE NOT SPEAKING DIRECTLY TO THEM

Children are very interested to know what you really think of them.  Therefore, their ears perk up when you are talking on the phone and their name is mentioned.  A child, who cannot hear you when you are shouting for him to clean his room, will hear every word of your whispered telephone conversation if it is about him.  You have to be very careful about what you say about your youngster within his earshot.  If you talk about how well he is doing even though he might have done some bad as well, he will understand that you appreciate and notice the good things he does.  But if you talk about the bad things and forget the good, he will get the mistaken idea that you don't notice the good things or that you enjoy his bad behavior and he will produce more bad behaviors.

Rounded Rectangle: Clinical Psychologist                               Alexandra J. Rogers, Ph.D.