I spent about a third of my career living with and working with some of the most severely troubled kids as far as behaviors go. My task was to turn the behavior around so these kids could actually function in public settings. Not to just ” get by ” but to excel.
I was able to do so at a very high rate of success no matter what the family situation, or the life circumstances, as long as the kid could understand what we were trying to accomplish. As long as they could function independently. For those with borderline IQ and developmental issues, I accomplished the same results but with a different system.
For now anyway I will share about how I worked with just your average kid. I’m going to lay out some tips for you to take control of your home and in such a way that everybody feels like they won..
I’ve written quite a bit on tips for parenting and different ideas. However I’ve not gone into a lot of detail on specific plans simply because I’m not sure that I will have an interactive audience and that people will appreciate what I’m going to lay out. So I’m going to try this today and see what the response is like – if you feel that it’s helping you and you’d like to hear the rest of the story ( which is not going to happen in one post) please let me know through your comments that you would like to hear the rest. This is something that took me over a decade to learn by experience and it’s not something I can lay out in one post but I can give you a great idea of how to change what you’re currently doing enough that it will make a difference in your life, in a short series.
I’m going to go ahead and call this an in-depth series on parenting and if it goes well we will make it an ongoing series with the intent for you to ask questions and I answer questions according to your specific need and situation. If I feel that it’s not drawing enough interest I will change it from in-depth-series to a drowned one. That is totally up to you.
The information I’m going to share with you will include information that I was paid by the state to train parents on, to train entire school districts of teachers on, to work in home with families on, as well as my five years as a living foster parent to around 35 teenagers. I also have 4 kids of my own ages 6-22.
I’m going to start by naming a few basic fundamentals that must be in place before anything will be successful.
1- As a parent yelling and screaming at your child is about the worst thing you can do no matter what the circumstance.
2-Your interactions with your child on a daily basis should include at least 10 positive comments to every 1 negative or criticizing statement. ( Yes it’s possible) The reason for this is simple; negative reinforcement ( yelling or putting one down NEVER changes behavior patterns for more than a minute, and hour, a day if your lucky. If you want real change, you need to identify what it is specifically you want to see happen from your child, tell them, and then wait. Keep waiting. Wait until you ” catch them ” doing what you wanted. Now its high praise time. You don’t need to buy them an xbox or anything, just some verbal praise reminding them of what they did so well. Keep training your brain to catch them doing what they are supposed to , and keep reminding them that you noticed and giving them an age appropriate token of appreciation. For example a 7-year-old might like a hug. A 15-year-old might like a comment like, ” you are really impressing me, keep this up and maybe we can talk about that ( enter whatever thing they have been bugging you about getting) soon!
3- Without specific skills and expectations for your child it’s impossible to succeed because there is no mutual understanding. Don’t assume your child can read your mind. Always incorporate the skills I will teach you into your daily dialogue with you child. I am going to provide you with a bunch of social skills to incorporate into your home. These should become common to hear in your daily conversations. There are dozens we can add but start slow with the major ones.
4- Do away with terms like ” be good ” or ” don’t be bad” . Your idea of good maybe totally different then your child thinks of good as. Train yourself to start Identifying specifically what you expect . For example instead of ” Jimmy , you be good while we are gone ” , say ” Jimmy please don’t forget to finish math, make your bed, and follow instructions of the sitter.”
5- Never, ever say ” because I said so, that‘s why “- because – well just don‘t.
On of the major problems parents have is not keeping things realistic. Especially in issuing consequences. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a parent say to their 10-year-old something like this – ” you keep on screwing up like this boy and you can forget about summer baseball league.
WHAT? This just in…10 year old kids have an attention span of a few minutes. You think they can connect on that kind of consequence when they are still thinking if they will get ice cream for dinner? Keep it real, and age appropriate. By the way, if the kid does comprehend that baseball might be out, whats the point of trying at anything now? Now you lost him for good.
The trick to all these pieces is to weave them into a motivation system that you design for your child that is permanent – a system that you both know backwards a forward and leaves 100% of the outcome up to the child. It’s all their choice. In a well-developed system, there is no power struggle, no yelling, at all. Simple, because the options are laid out beforehand clearly for the child. If she wants to earn x, she does this. If she does not care to follow any instructions she issues herself a consequence. No shocking angry threats, just a simple choice for the child, and they no what the outcome will be whether they do the right thing or not.
I have already gone further then I intended to without even knowing if people want and need what I have to say. Maybe you have parenting all figured out. You may not need me. However if you don’t fall into that group and like the rest of us you have struggled before, then I need you to make it known. Tell me through your comments what your area of need is and if you will benefit from this type teaching. Let me know that you will be involved in this series or not. I will not continue if nobody is willing to share that they need help.
Skills for today to start incorporating into your home.
A- look at the person
C- complete the task
4-check back when finished
A-look at the person
( No eye rolling, body language or mumbling)
Teach your child to use the SODAS method when they cannot make up their minds on an issue. Role play with them on this method so when nobody is around to discuss a problem with your child has a way to make the right choices.
If you need more specific and personalized information then what you see in the series, that is when you contact me for a personalized plan of care.
I have never turned anyone away for not being able to pay some sky-high fee. I will gladly help you put a system in place that is perfect for your family.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a virtual appointment and discuss a personalized plan of care for your situation.
For now – lets see if you all need what I have to offer. Please make yourself known.