Empowering Children to Manage Their Behavior

Ivette J. Russo MS in Clinical Psychology

Who’s the boss around here? Sound familiar? Just about one time or another everyone’s been told what to do by someone else.  Not the most joyful experience people can have.  Children are no different.  For most children, when they know what to do, they don’t have to be told to do it. If they know what to do but choose not to do it, it’s more a problem of not valuing the behaviors rather than remembering what to do.  Disobeying is a very powerful way of saying, “I’m angry! I never have any say around here.”  There are a plethora of behavior techniques that are available to parents to foster healthy growth and development in their children.  But remember, a technique is only as good as the way it’s used.  My favorite, Behavior Encouragement, is designed to encourage desirable behavior by empowering children to use their personal power in positive ways.

Some examples are:

  • giving children choices
  • providing children choices for their behavior and consequences for those choices
  • never use threats as choices
  • never give ultimatums as choices
  • never give choices when there aren’t any
  • using humor as a strategy to help children manage their own behavior
  • providing children with transition time between activities and before requests is important
  • eliciting children to come up with their own solutions by asking “What can you do instead?”
WET MagazineEmpowering Children to Manage Their Behavior

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