This Blog post is part of a mini-series I have about how to best respond to negative and non-preferred behavior.
I had a family come up to me this past week and have questions about how to best decrease their child’s negative and non-preferred behaviors. While they can be many reasons a child demonstrates negative and non-preferred behavior, this family felt their child’s behavior was due to his age and him not fully understanding the consequences to his actions. The family reported that yelling at their child and putting him into time-outs did not seem to be making a difference.
I encouraged the family to try something different this week. When their child acted in a negative or non-preferred way, I urged them to approach with curiosity instead of with anger and yelling. I encouraged this family to simply ask their child “why did you do that?”
By asking their child this question they were doing 2 very important things:
Instead of telling the child “you are not supposed to do ____ now you are in trouble” which can lead to increased defiance and a power struggle, by simply asking the child “why did you do that?” they are helping the child acknowledge that they did not act in the most appropriate way, but are doing so in an educational manner where their child can learn from his mistakes, instead of bringing this up to a child in a way that would encourage more negative and non-preferred behavior.
This week I encourage you to approach with curiosity if your child shows a negative or non-preferred behavior. Leave a comment below and let me a time you approached your child’s behavior with curiosity and how your child responded.
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See you soon!
Michael Jankowski, MS, OTR/L
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