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Positive Reinforcement and Behavior Issues

by Joe Lawrence | October 21st, 2015 | Behavior, Elementary

brother and sister (400x400)Behavior issues seem to be the constant issue that parents face on a regular basis. Kids are awesome and can make you feel you so proud when they do great things. However, they can also make you feel like a failure when you are not able to get them to act properly. It is especially frustrating when you have multiple children six years old and under.

I remember when the big issue was how are we going to get her to sleep through the night, we thought it was the end of the world as parents. Why is she not getting this? What are we doing wrong? Now our issues are how she interacts as a six-year-old with toddler brother.

He idolizes her and is heartbroken every time she refuses to play with him. She realizes this and often does things just to get a rise out of him. Then I realize this and get angry that she is manipulating her little brother and separate the two. This cycle has gone on for weeks. There has been no change for the better.

Then I thought back to those frustrated nights of her climbing out of bed and running into our room three and four times a night. We tried everything…so we thought. What eventually worked was positive recognition. We did a sticker chart and it worked fantastically. Surely, we could work using this principle once again.

She has a chore chart that she completes each day. There are seven items on there and for each one she completes, she gets a dime. This accounts for her allowance and teaches her that success is based off of performance. If you want toys, you have to work for them.

I have added two more items to her chart that relate to her relationship with her brother. One of them is for not teasing her little brother and the other is for helping him to do something. So far, there has been some improvement. She still teases him on occasion and is not cured of that just yet; however, she is great at helping him do things.

The other day I saw her brushing his teeth and washing his hands after they finished a snack. She will read to him, show him how to draw shapes and even teaching him to count. In return, he is even more loving of his sister and much more tolerant to her taunting.

Behavior issues have been a struggle ever since birth with both of my children and I am certain that they will be for a long time. I just hope that I have the ability to reflect on these past issues and remember the benefits of positive reinforcement.

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