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How To Alter Bad Behavior

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Dr. Kenney recalls a few great ways to alter a child's negative behaviors.

Dr. Kenney:
What do you do instead of “time out”, alright? You can do time-in and that’s terrific when everything is going well, but what do you do when things aren’t going well? And the two things that I do most in my own home and with families when I go into their homes when things aren’t working out is I make some sort of process for making it up to the relationship.

If you are my child or I am in your home and I have a behavioral expectation of you that will speak calmly, quietly and politely to one another and all of a sudden you just start screaming at me and lambasting me, I just say, “Whoa, I am confused about that because I thought we agreed that blank.”

“I thought we agreed when I came to your home that we talk politely and calmly to one another. I am really eager to hear what it is that you want but it’s very difficult for me to hear when you are screaming at me, alright?” So now I can ask you to make amends and apologize, which I am not going to do, but I could do that.

What I am going to say instead is, “Can we do that differently? How about if we push the ‘redo’ button and we do that over again so that we can both get what it is that we are needing out of this relationship, alright?”

So I think that there are times, instead of using time out, that you can actually say to somebody, “Can we do that differently? Can we give that another shot? Can I hear a different tone? Whoa, I didn’t use a very nice tone. Do you mind if I say that again in a nicer tone?”

Right, or if it’s really a big transgression we can say, “You know, I am really feeling hurt by what you just did and I am feeling like I am needing a little payback here. How about a foot massage?”

About Dr. Lynne Kenney, Psy.D.:
Lynne Kenney, Psy.D., is a mother of two, a practicing pediatric psychologist in Scottsdale, AZ, and the author of The Family Coach Method (St Lynn’s Press, Sept 2009). She has advanced fellowship training in forensic psychology and developmental pediatric psychology from Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Harbor-UCLA/UCLA Medical School. Dr. Kenney is currently a featured expert for Momtastic.com and Parentsask.com.

Visit Dr. Lynne Kenney at her Website

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