Redirection. 1-2-3 Magic. Continuous reinforcement. All of these are wonderful techniques for teaching your child how to behave in a civilized manner, but if you have a particularly strong willed child, they can fall short. Try redirecting a determined despot. Works for two days till they catch on. 1-2-3 my butt. Continuous reinforcement turns into expecting a treat for every non-defiant gesture.
There is salvation! Many other parents have told me behavior charts are the answer! Immediate, visual feedback with fewer negative consequences works wonders. Incentives are huge!
But like any promise of salvation, there is always a disclaimer, usually involving interpretation of the Promise Land. I had my ideas of how a child would earn stars on a chart. My little girl had her own, and the discrepancy was alarming; hence: A Six Year Old’s Guide to Earning Stars On A Behavior Chart.
Unchartered Territory 1 of 11
School Behavior 2 of 11"I won't ever ask a teacher if she's pregnant again."
Eep. But it led to a good lesson in apologizing and the power of hand-written notes.
Manners 3 of 11"By not picking my nose for half of the day and the whole next day."
And that's why I use sanitizer.
Obeying 4 of 11
Chores 5 of 11"By dusting you off all day, mommy."
Thanks for that, honey.
Helping 6 of 11"When you needed to clean something I'd get the paper towels."
And thanks again. No one ever got into motherhood for immediate gratification.
Eating Habits 7 of 11"I will never put any dinner up my nose again."
Good. I'm sick of using my tweezers to retrieve lodged beans and pasta.
Handling Emotions Positively 8 of 11"If I want to yell or cry I will run a few laps around the house."
Fine. But you have to run instead of yelling or crying, not all three.
Getting Dressed 9 of 11"I will stop trying to wear my glitter horses shirt every day."
Good. Because the shirt smells like a barn animal now.
Brushing Teeth 10 of 11"Putting toothpaste inside my mouth instead of making bubbles to 'shave my face' with my toothbrush."
I have no response to that.
Listening 11 of 11"When you tell me to do something I'll answer you instead of pretending I don't hear you because I suddenly realize I need to play NOW before you ruin all the fun."
See? I'm Gru.