Building on the Strengths of a Child

When children are misbehaving a lot or at times when parents are highly stressed, the child’s faults and naughtiness are much more obvious than the child’s strengths. However when we pay attention to what children do well, we can influence good behavior and get along better with our children.

Look for exceptions to misbehaving and build on them. When a child’s behavior is not good much of the time, it’s hard to pay attention to and remember times when the child’s behaviors were good, when that child acted in ways that helped rather than got in the way. Think of a time in the last week when the child’s behavior was positive (or better than usual). Then try to remember what was different about that day that may have helped the him/her to behave better (getting more sleep, good day at school, or being able to spend time with a favorite person.) Use these observations to try to make the exceptions to misbehavior happen more often.

Catch ‘em being good. Even a child who misbehaves nine times out of ten does some things right. Praise him/her on the rare occasion when he/she does what he’s told, when she’s nice to her younger sister. This can help increase the child’s self-esteem and can lead to more times when she behaves well. Praise works best, when it’s specific (“I like it when you hang up your coat”, not “you’re a good kid”; when praise immediately follows the good behavior (children have short memories); when you’re sincere (kids know when you mean it.)

Build on success. Help children to remember when they did things well and encourage them to do it again. You can say to a child something like “You remember how on Tuesday you got up for school without me having to scream at you? Wasn’t that a great morning? Let’s do it again that way tomorrow—we’ll both be happier.” You’re reminding the child that he has acted positively in the recent past, and that things are better for him (and for you) when she behaves like that more often.

6 Rules to Live By When You Discipline Your Child


Via The Huffington Post …

Dr. Lisa Firestone

Psychology expert on relationships, parenting, self-destructive thoughts and suicide; author, ‘Conquer Your Critical Voice’

6 Rules to Live By When You Discipline Your Child

Posted: 11/10/2014 4:58 pm EST

Updated: 01/10/2015 5:59 am EST