Attention to bad behavior increases bad behavior (yelling, lecturing, scolding, spanking and punishing are all forms of negative attention), while attention to good behavior increases good behavior.
I was struggling to deal with a two year old J. He becomes fussier, more demanding, more fractious, more resistant, more stubborn. I freaked out whenever the tantrums hit. Especially ON PUBLIC, when I’m doing groceries or coffee catch-ups. When all eyes are ON me; all fingers are pointing AT me. Yelling, spanking, bribery, I literally unload all stuffs inside my bag. I did everything I could, but he went more hysterical and rebels against me.
And then I read above quote : Attention to bad behavior increases bad behavior (yelling, lecturing, scolding, spanking and punishing are all forms of negative attention), while attention to good behavior increases good behavior.
Then I realised that I’ve been give a wrong approach to J’s tantrums and bad behaviours. The harder I push myself on fixing his bad behaviour, the more efforts he will hardened himself to change. It’s just the nature of growing. So, I’ve learned from my mistakes.
And here are my successful tips in dealing with tantrums and rebellious toddler:
- Try to BE CALM in every situation : your kids are able to sense your feelings/emotions. If they see you’re panicking, they will become one too. But, if they see your calm face, then they will calm down themselves too. When they hear you yell or scream, they will cry even harder.
- Learn to IGNORE – or walk away from annoying behaviour : when you stop giving attention to the annoying behaviour, there’s nothing in it for the child. They may start to throw more tantrums at first for not getting what they want as it used to be, but eventually they will realise that tantrums won’t work anymore.
- DISTRACT their focus to their favourite things : this trick is the best magic we could ever do to Mr. J, this guy loves his snack time, and whenever he cries in the car, in the laundry, under my feet, I always straight away offer him food. And as soon as he hears snacks, he stop crying. Do not focus on saying “don’t cry, stop crying” cause it makes them more focus on the crying itself, cause that’s the only word they could hear from us.
- Give an instruction only ONCE : Don’t foster greater disobedience by giving it a lot of attention. If you focus on their defiance, it will actually increase. With J, I try to tell him once and then watch his following reaction from a far. Most of the results surprise me.
- CHANGE our language – find the “positive opposite” of “stop” and “don’t” instead of saying “do not use your shoes at home”, change it to “please take off your shoes before you enter the house”
- REWARD every positive good behaviours they do : after all, this thing matter the most, they learn and grow become a better person. So, every little praise, smile, high five, word of encouragement counts. Give extra attention to the positive behaviour they do and give them an assurance that they are on the right track.
These methods NOT only works well for Jared, but for me too. It gave me a big change. To be ease on myself, cause after all, I can’t change people according to my time and will. I can expect them to change the way I want them to be in such period of time. I gotta remind myself that I’m dealing with a 2.9 feet tall human being that see things differently than what I see. One way to understand their perspective is by kneeling down on their shoes and become a mature version of them. So, mommies, let’s take a deep breath and be easy on ourself and to our kids more. As long as we live on this earth, we are all still on the run of learning process. This is called the SCHOOL OF LIFE. xx