Thank you to Worcestershire Speech and Language Therapy for allowing me to use their image for this blog piece. Click on the picture to see what they do :-)
Parenting. It's hard. It doesn't come with a manual and we just hope that we're doing it 'right'. We learn as we go and we are knocked sideways most days when we just think we've 'cracked it'!
I studied child psychology at A-level and have been immersed in all things child-related since I began training as a teacher in 1997. This is therefore, all I know and I thought that would make parenting easy! Oh how wrong I was with that, but I digress!
The reason for this blog today is to encourage us to focus on the positive. My biggest focus within the classroom, and therefore, engrained in me as a parent, is - "Catch them being good".
Children love interaction, they actively seek it out. If that interaction is directed at the negative behaviours, the child will continue this behaviour in order to continue that interaction. So, for example, if a child isn't listening to you (low level disruption) I would stop it by drawing your attention towards another child and saying - "I like the way that you listened to me X". If there isn't another child to use as an example, try to praise the behaviour that you do want as soon as it happens - Catch them being good - and try really hard to ignore the behaviour that you don't want to see (that's the hard bit!!)
Seek out the behaviours that you do want and children get a clear, positive message.
This is also true when using a negative word within a sentence. If you say, 'Don't run', children often hear the word 'run' but not the second part. Instead, you should say what you want them to do, eg: 'walk' (as the brilliant infographic at the top of this post shows)
It is hard to ignore the more forceful behaviours such as fighting, biting, etc. In this instance, you should discipline in whatever way you feel comfortable with. When my children were little, we used the naughty step and then talked about what had happened and how it made us both feel. The naughty step has mixed reviews as a way to discipline, but for us, it gave us both some time out to calm down and to then deal with the behaviour in a rational way, as opposed to raw emotion.
I would love to hear what has worked for you when the tough times have hit.