We recently read Creative Answers to Misbehavior by John Taylor, which we liked mainly because it’s only 28 pages long, but also because it has practical examples of strategies we know we should be doing, from a theoretical standpoint. Mostly as an exercise in engraining new knowledge in accessible brain matter, we’ll list some of our favorite ideas presented in the book:
- “I don’t like to touch your fingers when they have been in your nose. I’ll play Patty-cake with you after you wash your hands.”
It’s hard to stop bad behaviors, but you can use something they want to teach them about behavior you’d like.
- “You must go to your room now. Are you going to walk by yourself, or do I carry you?”
Sending a child to his room isn’t as simple as telling him to go. He likely won’t go willingly. Being prepared to take him there will show him he won’t get out of it.
- “You owe ten dollars for breaking Crystal’s toy. You have three choices. Either pay for it now with money in your savings account, earn it by doing some extra work for us, or we’ll give your next two allowances to Crystal. Which plan would you like to use?”
The child is more willing to accept the consequences if he chose them.
- “Even though I’m not washing your clothes, I’d be happy to play a game with you now.”
Just because the child did something wrong, doesn’t mean he isn’t loved anymore, and it’s important for him to know that.
- “You owe your sister an apology for doing that. You can write it to her if you wish. I’ll check with her at 8:00 and ask her whether she has been apologized to by that time.”
Apologies are a must, and I like the idea of written ones, especially for people outside our household.
- “You can’t undo what you’ve done, but at least you can improve things for the future; you need to start with an apology.”
A simple way of explaining that people will remember the bad behavior, but relationships are salvageable, and you won’t feel rotten forever.