Every parent needs to give their child negative consequences or punishment sometimes. The trick, as I discussed last week, is to use negative consequences sparingly and use positive strategies, like coaching, modeling, praise, and rewards, as often as possible to teach and reinforce good behavior. When you do need to use negative consequences, like taking away a privilege or favorite game or toy, there are a number of things you can do to make it more likely that these consequences will be effective, and your relationship with your child will remain positive.
Having to hand out punishments and negative consequences to your child is not something that any parent wants to do. So, it's important to know that the negative consequences that you do use are actually having an impact on your child's behavior. How can you tell if you are being effective? Look for a change in behavior over time – not just a change in the moment. Does your child fight less often with his sister now than he did last week or last month? If the answer is yes, then your strategies are working. But if you aren't seeing a change in the behavior over time, then it's time to try something else. Think strategically about other things that you can do to make the negative behavior less likely to happen. Are there skills your children need to learn? Do they need more sleep so they are less irritable during the day? Do they need more one-on-one time with a parent so they don't feel the need to seek out negative attention? Are there certain games or toys that often lead to conflict and should be limited?
Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture will help you problem solve more effectively rather than just doing the same thing over and over again. When in doubt, get help from a professional who specializes in ADHD or child behavior challenges.
Mary Rooney, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. Dr Rooney is a researcher and clinician specializing in the evaluation and treatment of ADHD and co-occurring behavioral, anxiety, and mood disorders. A strong advocate for those with attention and behavior problems, Dr. Rooney is committed to developing and providing comprehensive, cutting edge treatments tailored to meet the unique needs of each child and adolescent. Dr. Rooney's clinical interventions and research avenues emphasize working closely with parents and teachers to create supportive, structured home and school environments that enable children and adolescents to reach their full potential. In addition, Dr. Rooney serves as a consultant and ADHD expert to Huntington Learning Centers.
Huntington Learning Center is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students of all levels succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington's mission is to give every student the best education possible. Call us today at 1.800.CAN LEARN to discuss how Huntington can help your child. For franchise opportunities please visit www.huntingtonfranchise.com.
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