Hey Mom, How Do You Encourage Positive Behavior in Kids? A Guest Post By Lynn Banis

Monday, August 30, 2010

Kids will be kids. They will be angels one minute and devils the next. How do you get them to have more consistent positive behavior without spending your life saying “no, no” no!”? I remember well those years when it did seem that your vocabulary only consisted of the word “no”, when little hands were into everything. That is just a passing phase though on the way to growing up. Babies have to learn their limits and must be protected from things that could harm them. Once they learn their physical boundaries though how do you get them to start making good judgments about behavior?

One way is to set high but attainable goals for them. Never set a child up for failure by setting expectations too high. You want your child to succeed so that you can offer praise and encouragement to continue the good work. You want your child to be proud of their own achievements. That becomes a sense of internal motivation to repeat their behavior.

Another way is to offer appropriate praise. Do not be a Pollyanna by giving them a sense that everything is worthy of lavish praise. They can see right through that and then praise means nothing to them. Praise is something that needs to be earned and deserved but cannot be too hard to achieve. For instance, if your child has chores he is expected to do, you might try offering praise for the way he did his chores not for the fact that he did them.

A third way to encourage positive behavior in your kids is to make any punishment appropriate to the “crime”. For example, threatening to throw your child’s toys away because she has not picked them up and put them away is extreme. First of all, you probably won’t really do it and then they lose respect for you and your empty threat. Second, if you do it you are the looser because you will undoubtedly end up replacing them at sometime which will cost you financially. It would be much more appropriate to tell your child that she will not be able to do anything else until her toys are picked up and put away properly. That is a fitting consequence for a messy room. It also helps a child understand that some things have to be done before others and that if done without complaint then the world runs pretty smoothly. There are consequences for actions – both negative and positive. Focus on teaching the positive relationship between doing chores and being free to do other things.

Always try to think of the bigger picture. What is it you are really trying to teach your kids? Is it positive, responsible behavior or getting attention by being contrary or bad? There is a vast difference between the two. Your child will be better off if both of you focus on the positive.


Lynn Banis, PhD, MCC
The High Performance Coach

Lynn is a Master Certified Coach with years of experiences helping moms through tough situations.  She would love to answer your questions on a weekly basis. What are you struggling with?  What questions do you have about getting through the day?  Leave her a few comments with your questions and concerns and she will be happy to write about them in future posts.  To find out more about Lynn and how she can help you live your passion, visit her at: www.discoverypointcoaching.com/blog


Read more posts from the Hey Mom Series here, here and here. Moms work hard and deserve encouragement! Please share this post with other Moms you know.
blueviolet said...

I agree about praise. It's important but can easily be overdone!

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