Showing posts from October, 2015

Don't is a Four Letter Word

From the time our children are infants, we tell them “Don’t.”  Don’t touch.  Don’t hit.  Don’t put that in your mouth.  Health and safety concerns are often the root of our use of this four letter word.  We tell our children what not to do and then we wonder why they continue to touch and to hit and to put it in their mouths.  You cannot stop a behavior without replacing it.  We need to stop using that four letter word and tell them what to do.   We need to make expectations the focus of teaching behavior rather than what we don’t want to see or hear.
When your child hits, pushes or kicks, he is trying to express his frustration. When your child reaches for intriguing items, she is expressing her curiosity.  The frontal lobe of the brain isn’t developed yet so the children cannot control their impulses.  When they have the impulse to act physically or reach for dangerous items and we say, “Don’t,” they will. They have nothing else to do with that energy.  A child who reaches for an o…

What You Can Learn from Webinars from Helping Kids


The Secret to Understanding Behavior and the Magic Potion for Guiding It

My presentations about behavior are always full.  Parents and teachers want a magic spell or to know the secret or to be handed a key that will unlock the mystery of behavior.  They want a potion to sprinkle on children that will make their behavior less challenging to address and more often in line with our adult expectations.  People may tell you that there is no secret.  The key does not exist.  I don’t believe that is entirely true.  There is a fact, a basic truth, that adults need to understand in order to solve the mystery of their child’s behavior. 
Behavior is communication.  The secret is those three simple words that say so much. 
Children are constantly testing their power in the world.  The first time they cross a boundary, they are asking a question – “Can I use this much power or will that be unacceptable?”  If an adult tells the child that the action was not acceptable, he finds the boundary he was seeking.  He may wonder, “Will the reaction be the same every time I …

Are You Narrowing Your Child’s World?

Your children may enjoy activities that you didn’t at their age.  Intellectually, you may know that your children are not you and they can form their own opinions.  Often, however, we influence our children’s opinions, perceptions and motivation by imposing our baggage on them. 
As an educator, it is difficult for me to encourage success when a student tells me that it’s okay for her to dislike a topic and not do well because her mother told her that she didn’t like and failed at it as a child.  It is hard for me to open your child’s mind when he says, “My dad was bad at this and hated it so he said he understands that I don’t want to do it.”  What you disliked as a child, and even what you enjoyed, has little to do with your children.  They are growing up in a different era.  They are having experiences with different people.  Your children are not reliving your experiences and they don’t think exactly as you did.  Your baggage narrows their world.  What a loss! When your children …