Parenting Connection: Using positive attention to change disruptive behavior

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)–It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: Using positive attention to change disruptive behavior.

Child experts with the Child Mind Institute have found that giving kids positive rather than negative attention when they are misbehaving is much more effective in changing their future actions.
This doesn’t mean you ignore outlandish, unsafe, or extremely disruptive behavior, but research shows that praise for behavior you want gets a lot more results than calling out the things you want them to stop doing.

The concept is, parental attention is so powerful that whatever behavior we notice and comment on, the more this behavior increases. In other words, rather than yelling at them for what they’re doing wrong, we want you to react more often when your kids are doing right.

Implementing this positive attention can take on many forms, including verbal praise, hugs, high fives or rewards. Experts say, this positive attention will look different for a three-year-old than it does for a teenager, but the basic idea is the same. Ultimately, development experts say by letting your kids know that you appreciate their behavior, they will be more likely to do it again and again in the future.

Experts say do your best to ignore bad behavior, called “active ignoring” by withdrawing your attention and refrain from constantly yelling for them to stop whatever it is you don’t like. Experts say, you then are sending the message that acting in whatever way you don’t like is not the way for them to get what they want. Then, give them your attention back when they begin to act the right way.

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