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Old 01-24-2010, 09:56 AM   #1
court3189
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Strategies for teaching values and reinforcing good behavior...

After reading some of the posts regarding the 'birthday party' I'm realizing maybe some of you have some good strategies for teaching values and reinforcing good behavior. Sounds like there are a lot of really well behaved 5 year olds out there . I was wondering if folks would want to share what some of these strategies are. Example, how do you communicate boundaries on children's material wants? How do you establish boundaries on appropriate behavior in public places? How do you teach appreciation for material items? At what age and how does it change as the child ages? At what age do you feel children understand consequences and how delayed can those consequences be? How should those consequences be related to the original incident?

For example, someone recommended 'earning' items-at what age would you start this and what would be some examples of activities a child that age could do to 'earn' something? We tried 'pencils' with DS and had limited luck. He would start with a full jar of pencils and a pencil would be removed if he misbehaved and at the end of the week the number of pencils determined a 'prize'. (No significance to the pencils they just fit easy in the mason jar.) Another suggested taking a child immediately out of the store when they began acting that way-I've done both taken the child out so as not to disturb other shoppers and stayed because I wanted to reinforce just because you through a fit doesn't mean we get to leave. What's the better approach? Does leaving reinforce that if you don't want to be somewhere throw a fit and we'll leave?

I'd love to hear others approaches (please no one flame anyone for their approaches).

ETA-Do you think there are differences in how these approaches work with boys and girls? Or are certain approaches better for one gender over another?

TIA!
Court

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Last edited by court3189; 01-24-2010 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:08 AM   #2
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Re: Strategies for teaching values and reinforcing good behavior...

My kid is too young to really be affected by this yet, but when I was small my mother had this rule:

Tantrums always meant leaving. If a tantrum forced her to leave somewhere she needed/wanted to be, it cost the perpetrator somewhere they wanted to go/do. (i.e. no park/no Sesame Street)

I remember another poster saying that she stopped grocery tantrums by leaving the store every time a tantrum happened without buying food. By the time the house supplies were down to not much but canned beans, the kids were ready to behave. I admired her fortitude.

[edited to add]
We still leave for tantrums. I feel like I owe it to the people around me. I don't take away things yet because my one year old can't process that yet.

Last edited by Sleep deprived; 01-24-2010 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 01-24-2010, 04:03 PM   #3
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Re: Strategies for teaching values and reinforcing good behavior...

For manners, I model them all the time so ds picks them up. I've been saying please, thank you and your welcome since he was born. Whenever he would give me something, I'd say 'thank you'. If I wanted him to hand me something, I'd say 'can I have x please'. If he asked for something (pre-verbal and now), I'd give it to him and say 'your welcome' even if he didn't say anything. He now uses those 90% of the time when asking for things, receiving things etc. And he did that all by himself.

I'm a strong advocate of the 'distraction' technique. I don't go anywhere without a bottle, some yummy snacks, and a toy. It's much easier to start young with distraction, then, as they get older they start comprehending 'why' they need to act a certain way. For example, my son, at 2.5, doesn't really get why tantrums are bad. He just knows he's thirsty/hungry/bored. And at that age there really isn't any developed self control. So if I'm grocery shopping, I involve him. He hands the card/cash to the checker, helps me bag tomatoes, holds the 'treat of the week', etc. He also knows that if he's 'bad' he doesn't get to do those fun things. So if he is acting up, I tell him I'm going to take away something that is 1) concrete (card, no more apples, etc) and 2) instant/right then (so I wouldn't threaten no Caillou since Caillou is at least 30 min separated from the grocery store) if he doesn't stop fussing/throwing things/yelling/etc. If he stops, he gets to continue the fun things. If he doesn't, it gets taken away. Now, this could lead to a bigger fit, BUT I give him a way out. I tell him if he behaves for x amount of time/until we get to the apples, he can 'help' me again. It took a while, but he now knows that there are consequences BUT that good behavior can make those consequences shorter in duration. Most of the time, he behaves. I'd say 10% of the time he chooses to misbehave, but like 7 times out of 10 within 5 minutes he's back to behaving because he want to be included again.

The other big thing we do is work on empathy. Until the age of 3, most children really don't see themselves as separate from others. Therefore, if they are feeling fine, everyone is feeling fine, if they are hungry, everyone else must be hungry too. It's part of brain development. So rather than just saying 'ouch that hurt me' I also add, 'how do you think it would feel if someone did that to you'. Because then they think of it differently.

Oh, and the third is that we take ds everywhere. There are 'rough' parts, like when he was really little and wanted to nurse every 15 minutes. Or when he was 2 and decided running around the restaurant would be more fun than eating. However, those were small blips. During the big meltdowns, we'd leave. Otherwise we'd use distraction.

All this doesn't mean ds behaves perfectly--he is 2.5! I constantly get comments about how well behaved he is. I think a part of it is personality of the child. But the other part is that ds has always felt included in everything, he knows that if he has needs (hungry, thirsty, bored) he can tell us and we will fulfill those needs so no need to act out, and that if it is really too much for him, we will leave.

If he's at home and really acting out, he's probably tired the majority of the time. If, even after napping, he's still acting out, I tell him he's going to 'the room' (aka our bedroom). He hates being alone. I take him there and close the door, then open it. Mind you, by this time he's very upset. I've only done this a handful of times though. Right now, if he just won't listen, I tell him if he doesn't shape up immediately, it's the room. And he shapes up. It's safe, it separates him and is something he really, really, really dislikes. I really, really, really dislike being hit in the face with blocks. So it's an even trade, in a way.

Ami
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Last edited by JnS Mama; 01-24-2010 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:19 PM   #4
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Re: Strategies for teaching values and reinforcing good behavior...

Ami ~ You have far more eloquently explained the major points of how I have worked with my children (particularly the manners point). Though unfortunately school seems to be undoing it so I am having to crack down with my oldest.
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:29 PM   #5
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Re: Strategies for teaching values and reinforcing good behavior...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineGurl020412 View Post
Ami ~ You have far more eloquently explained the major points of how I have worked with my children (particularly the manners point). Though unfortunately school seems to be undoing it so I am having to crack down with my oldest.
yours too??!!
School has done wonders for my child as well;(
Not always in a good way!

OP- I use
redirection
double negative choices
distraction
change of environment
discussion
prior "warning" of changes or schedule(we leave in 5 minutes, 2 minutes, etc or later today we will be going to the doctor followed by the store followed by the bank, etc)
understanding & utilizing age appropriate self help & group help skills
HUMOR is my number 1 "magic bullet"
removal of "problem items" like continually being fought over or played with incorrectly(throwing balls in house, hitting kids with hammers, throwing blocks, etc)
timeouts

I guess if my child threw a fit in a store or outing, I would probably leave I guess. Dunno. Never has happened. Neither with my own kids or with DC kids I take care of. To be honest, alot of parenting is bluffing. You just gotta be willing to get called on it! I guess I fake good! I have 2 boys of my own, plus 12 DC boys & 4 DC girls over the past 9 years. They have all been super duper for me. My group gets compliments all the time when we are out in public about how great they all act.
Kid VooDoo I guess?
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:44 PM   #6
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Re: Strategies for teaching values and reinforcing good behavior...

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Originally Posted by nakedbabytoes View Post
yours too??!!
School has done wonders for my child as well;(
Not always in a good way!

Oh yes! She started last year and within 3 months she started to refuse to eat anything (other than Ketchup) that had tomatoes in it. And now we are starting to have problems with her veggies. NEVER had a problem before school, I mean how many kids do you know that will take CARROTS over ICE CREAM? Mine would but not anymore.
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