Thursday, 22 May 2008

Influencing the behaviour of children

2 souvenirs are on the post I still wait for one reply.
I was busy this week working on an assignment for a course for work so I haven't visited most of you, but will catch up soon. I will take some stuff out of my assignment and present it to you. Hard to keep it short though
Firm and consistant limits are vital for a child and needs to be followed up with consequences.From consequences children don't learn new ways of behaviour though. Next to consequences they need modelling, teaching and positive reinforcement to adapt constructively.

We are likely to get back to work because we get reinforced by a paycheck. Everything what makes us feel good, a smile, a compliment, a reward, stimulates us to repeat a behaviour.
Positive reinforcement stimulates the self image of a child. The self image affects everything we do.

When a child misbehaves a lot than we are likely to tell him of more often than we would like. We start to expect it and our actions towards them add to their change to fail again. The child will become to believe that he/she is bad and acts on it. So how can we influence behaviour positively?

Give a child as much positive attention as possible. It gives the child the feeling that he is important and worthwhile to listen too. If you listen to him it is more likely they listen to you.
The child learns that he doesn’t have to act out to get us to attend to them.

Everybody needs some form of control in their life. If children just learn to follow rules they don’t learn to think for themselves. Give the child some control in his life depending on the age. It can be as simple as choosing the colour of a shirt.

Make it always clear what you expect from them. Give detailed instructions. Sometimes you have to break a project in pieces. When a child has to tidy his room and finds it difficult you might start with: “Pick up all the books and put them into your bookcase” every week you add something. Check if your instructions are understood.

Tell your child what the reward is or what the consequences are when he does or doesn’t do what you expect him to do. Find out what motivates the child. For one child a good reward will be staying up 15 minutes longer for another child it will be extra pocket money.
Give them a choice. Tell them “When you tidy your room $2 will go towards your pocket money. If you don’t tidy your room you won’t have enough money to go to the movie with your friend.”

Never argue with a child! You will not win. The only thing you might say is somethinglike “I know that you find it hard but I expect that your room is tidy by Sunday.” It acknowledges the child’s perceptions. When he starts to scream put up a brick wall. Stay calm. The child will soon discover that all this doesn’t work.

Stay always positive and never tell them that they are lazy or bad. Remember the behaviour is
bad not the child. Wait for the good behaviour and tell them.Don’t just say good boy or good girl. Give him a detailed description of what he did right. Often they don’t realise when they do the right thing.

Model the right behaviour yourself. When you tell them not to smoke when you start your second packet the child won't take you serious.

Last but not least. Look good after yourself and reward yourself for all your good work.

Good luck, Marja


  1. one thing I have noticed about kids are that they can be easily satisfied..they never aspire for big things..simple things can make them so happy..

  2. You are very right Rambler Kids are amazing and they need to hear that more often. That's one of my passions.

  3. I hope every parent in the world comes and reads this post. It would make a world of difference if parents would just take time to treat their children with the respect they need.

    I'm fine Marja. You know I just learned how to pronounce your name today. I always pronounced Marja like it was spelled in English. LOL! What a dope I can be!

    I see you have returned to blogging. I thought that we would not see you anymore. I'm glad you have returned.

  4. Nice...very useful since I probably will be a dad in a year or so :)

  5. Do as I say, not as I do
    It should be Do as I say and as I do and if you don't, I will still support you. I love you, what you do is a bonus. I may not like that but I still love you.

    Yesterday I says to my eldest (he's 14) I love you no matter what. Please be patient with me and love me no matter what too. That's what family is all about! He laughed and gave me a hug. He's such a good boy :D
    My youngest tickled me and kissed my forehead-I was appropriately disgusted of course-and he said, "Gotchya!" I guess that's his way of
    Have a good weekend :D

  6. i'm single but with a plan to have one, this is a must read, thanks for sharing. ;0)

  7. What an interesting read. If you think about it, everything there SHOULD be common sense. But parenting is not simple, and
    so often carried out in conjunction with a demanding full time job. Guidelines such as these should be stuck on every parents fridge door!

  8. You have well gone through child psychology

  9. Good advice in your posting; everyone need to read this.

  10. Kia ora Marja,
    Cheers for sharing this, always good to reminded of the somethings I perhaps do well, and more importantly areas I can improve upon. Have a great day.
    Ka kite ano,

  11. Thanks Wynn Respect is very important indeed. Glad you are doing well. Sent me an email one day

    Nice to hear that Anwin Great news
    Would love to know when it happens

    jen I think you are a wonderful mum
    You are a model to many. Investing so much time and energy in your children and the way you talk about them you feel there is lots of love

    Iriz I think you would be a great mum

    It sounds simple indeed but we are raised differently so it is very hard to learn a different way. I stil make many mistakes

    Welcome Raghu. Yes indeed I went through my child psychology books.
    However I have lots of practical experience and know that it works.

    Thanks Erik

    Yes that is indeed a help Rob. I have to remind myself very often It is easy to fall into wrong habits again.

  12. You may not beaware of it but as a male of the species I can't have does apply to me?

  13. Model the right behaviour true.

  14. Hi Marja

    You have written an excellent article on Parenting Skills. The language is simple and coherent. You have covered all the right angles with profound exemplars. You have addressed crucial elements such as positive reinforcement, modelling behaviour, aspects of behaviour modification, scheduling, accountability, love and respect, the learning continum in the acquisition of life skills. On a scale of one to ten I give you full marks for your dissertation in Early Childhood Education and Training. Glad to have you back sharing your knowledge in blogsphere.

  15. Steve I am aware that a father is equally responsible when raising his kids.

    Yes and often overseen he Karen

    Thanks a lot Paterika, i feel honoured. Seems that you have a thourough knowledge yourself.
    Have you studied psychology.
    I am not an early childhood teacher though. I have written this for an internal assignment for the childrens home (but have done child
    psychology in the past)

  16. Interesting and great post,Marja!


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