It’s the Little Things…
That tend to drive us insane! How many times a day do you say, “Get away from there” or “Stop playing with that”? Kids can have a habit of continuously doing things that make us crazy. It becomes a constant battle to get them to ‘behave’ and you spend most of your interactions with them correcting negative behaviors. As the weather gets cooler, kids are spending more time indoors and you are probably spending more time telling them what not to do.
What if you took a second to think about the annoying behaviors that you could overlook? It would take extreme patience, but could it be done? Does it REALLY matter if they are arguing in the car? Yes, it’s irritating, but let’s face it, stepping in to tell them to stop probably won’t help. We’re not suggesting you let children run the show, but instead identify the few behaviors which really irk you that could be disregarded – things that don’t really require negative attention.
Instead of giving into the child by providing attention to their negative behavior, try to divert the child towards a more positive behavior. This takes creativity, but it can be done. Think of what you want your child to stop doing and divert their attention to something more acceptable. Instead of yelling at them to, “Stop messing with the pillows on the couch!” which is then followed by a lecture about the cost of the furniture. Just ignore it. Completely disregard it. Remember, it takes patience. Then, think of something you’d rather the child be doing, like coloring, and try to redirect them towards that activity. Try something like, “Want to see who can do this color-by-number page the best?” Don’t even mention the pillows. Just try to divert the child into a more positive choice. It could be anything you think that could grab their attention and take them away from the couch.
Here are some examples of Disregard & Divert in action:
Playing in the kitchen while you are cooking
I need some chefs to help with dinner. Go wash your hands so you can cook with me.
Arguing in the car
Let’s take turns playing DJ and tell me when to stop the scan on the radio.
Playing with their food at dinner
I want to hear the best part of everyone’s day while we eat. Josh, you share first
It’s not easy and it takes practice, but it’s worth it! Your children are receiving attention in a more positive manner and you are reinforcing the behaviors you would prefer to see. Utilizing this Disregard & Divert technique allows you to remain in a more positive headspace and prevents you from becoming that nagging parent you hated as a child!