Timing of the Discipline
There is SO much that goes into social and emotional development and getting to the bottom of challenging behavior. But, I am here to tell you that there is hope, even if it’s not in one easy fix. It takes a little concentrated effort, but no more time that’s already going into the frustration and consequences you’re already dealing with. It might even take LESS time. Bear with me, I have a million resources and videos and blogs that are going to help YOU.
Let’s start with timing.
When your child hurts another child or does something unkind. You run up to the child, say, we don’t hit or whatever… we need to say we say we are sorry. We hold them in our arms, look them in the eye and concentrate all our efforts on that moment.
We just gave them exactly what they wanted, our undivided attention. Next time they hit, they know mom/dad is coming right for them. Teaching right when the behavior occurs can reinforce the negative behavior by giving attention to it. The timing is ineffective, the aggression already happened. This is not the time for positive teaching. Remove them from the situation with the least amount of attention possible. Come back to the teaching moment later.
It doesn’t seem right to not get your child in trouble or try to teach a lesson on sharing right during the heat of a struggle. But, here’s how you CAN do it if they are crying, hitting, having a tantrum or expressing other strong negative behaviors.
Remove the child from the situation and take them to a safe place, get them onto a new less-exciting activity behaving appropriately BEFORE teaching. They should not think that they can hit, go away for two seconds, and get something more fun. But they need to regulate their emotions before any teaching is possible.