Children thrive on attention. If they are not receiving enough positive attention, they will work on getting negative attention. This can be due to several factors, such as: they don’t feel noticed for the positive things they are doing or for just “being themselves”. Therefore they resort to making an impact to get your full attention, even if that means that they will be shouted at or bawled out! They succeeded in their need to be seen.
Research shows that the problem with giving more than twenty seconds of negative attention is that after a short period of time, the child’s negative behavior INCREASES, rather than DECREASES. A habit has been created!
Here’s where “parenting skill #2” enters: Give Encouragement, pay positive attention, and positively reinforce what your child is doing well! In the long run it takes less time and less emotional energy to give the positive attention that the child truly craves (desires).
Make sure, your praise is genuine and believable to the child. Look closely to see what you can positively reinforce and don’t give much attention to the negative behavior.
Here’s where a “thinking time” or a quiet area in your home…sometimes called a Peace Tent does its magic. Instead of lecturing and giving a certain amount of negative attention, when the child or teen does something that would normally elicit negative attention, instead tell them in a neutral voice to take some space to think about another way they could have handled the situation (5 minutes for a small child, perhaps 10 minutes for a teen).
Create the habit of giving them the attention they are seeking only for their positive behavior and giving them alone time to think about a better way of behaving when they hit, grab, yell, or use offensive language.
Let the transformation begin!!!