All children have moments of naughtiness – some more than others! These behaviours can be frustrating for a parent and it can often seem as though your life revolves around disciplining, and your vocabulary is inundated by ‘no’ and ‘don’t’.

I am often asked by parents ‘what more can I do?’ If 1-2-3 Magic is no longer effective, and removing toys and privileges just doesn’t seem to work anymore, then this article is for you!

Changing children’s behaviour is about two things – reducing the attention given to bad behaviours, and increasing the attention given to good behaviours. We do this by catching the child doing something right! It might be packing away their toys when you ask them the first time, brushing their teeth, going to bed on time, showing respect to a friend, or being kind to a sibling or pet. Whatever the behaviour is, you need to catch them doing something right, and reward them for it. This doesn’t have to be expensive – it could be a hug, high-5, or a piece of fruit. Ultimately, children want your attention. They want you to be proud of them.

So what about the behaviours you want to reduce. It is important to first establish with your child what you consider to be negative behaviour. The best way to do this is to sit them down and give them some specific examples (not too many though as you don’t want it to sound like a lecture). You might say something like ‘the kinds of behaviours that I see as negative and that will attract a consequence are throwing a ball in the house, pulling your sister’s hair, biting people, not packing away your toys when asked’. You would then explain the process of disciplining and what this will look like. You might use the 1-2-3 Magic method  or choices (‘you can choose to continue that behaviour and get a consequence, or you can choose to stop).

Now, once you have expectations in place with your young person, it’s important to be consistent!


Catch Them Doing Something Right


If you want more ideas about how to manage behaviour, why not call Select Psychology  on 08 6102 5815 to make an appointment (phone and online appointments are available). You may also be interested in a Mindful Parenting Life Coaching session or our one-on-one Parenting Coaching.

Melanie Newton at Select Psychology has broad experience in dealing with anxiety, panic, depression, trauma (including motor vehicle and industrial accidents), relationship difficulties, personality disorders, and stress. She has a special interest in post-traumatic stress, sleep problems, depression, and couples counselling. Melanie has completed advanced training with an externship in Emotion Focused Therapy for Couples and in Clinical Hypnosis.


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