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Reinforcing Good Behavior In Children

Jun 18, 2008
This morning after my children left for school, I walked into the bathroom and saw clothes all over the floor. Needless to say I was not impressed. Rebekah had forgotten (yet again) to pick up her clothes after having had a shower. I thought about picking them up for her, then decided that I would leave them for her to pick up later that day.

I started thinking about how I was going to fix this problem. After all, Becky always left her clothes in the middle of the bathroom floor. It seemed like no matter how many times I told her she would still just not hear me.

Anyhow, I wandered to her bedroom and opened the door and guess what I saw? There was a beautifully made bed with no creases or wrinkles in the blankets, the pillow was straight and perfectly arranged, there were dolls loned up on the pillow case in a neat fashion and there was absolutely nothing on the floor that shouldn't have been there. The toy boxes were neatly lined up in the corner. I couldn't fault a thing.

So I made a decision there and then. When Becky came home from school, instead of concentrating on the one thing she didn't do right, I was going to compliment her on the other hundred or so things that she had done very right that morning. Do you see what I am getting at here? What do you think is going to have the best response from my daughter? Nagging about the one group of things she didn't put away or complimenting her on the many other things she did do right this morning?

Becky is still at school but I can tell you what the response will be already. I bet you that by bed time tonight she will have found her pile of clothes in the bathroom and picked them up without any prompting from me. You see, this is the way kids work. You compliment them and they will look for more ways to be extra helpful. Test it and see. You'll be amazed at how much you can accomplish simply by choosing to ignore little things in order to praise the outstanding achievements.

So, the next time you see something that your child hasn't done and get annoyed about it, try thinking a little differently. Just see if you can instead find something to compliment them on and it might just make the world of difference. Just a thought. It works for me.
About the Author
Kim Patrick is a single mum with four children who lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. She is author of the book, "Get Your Child To Behave In 30 Days Or Less". For more information on how to get your child to behave, you can go to http://www.mychildcanbehave.com/main.html
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