Disregard and Divert

Feel like a broken record, giving the same demands over and over in order to eliminate negative behaviors? "Stop it!" "Clean that up!" "Pay attention!" "Sit still!" Many times the things we say to our kids have a negative tone and let's face it, they have tuned us out. Believe it or not, there are many negative behaviors that can be ignored. WINGS teaches the Disregard and Divert technique to help limit the focus on the negatives and redirect the child's attention back to more positive behaviors.

First step: DISREGARD the negative behavior your child is displaying.
This might seem difficult, but it is easier than it sounds. Just take a deep breath and don't even acknowledge the negative.

Second step: DIVERT the child's attention from negative behavior back to something that the child should be doing.
All this takes is a little creativity and consistency. Find something that will get your child back on track and interested in what you want them to do.

Example #1:
Your child is supposed to be doing their homework, but keeps getting up from the table and playing with the dog.

Disregard the behavior you do not like: Getting up from the table and playing with the dog
Divert the child's attention away from the negative behavior and back to the activity (their homework). Say, "I'm right here to help. You've done a great job on the first 3 problems so let's give problem 4 a try together."

This allows you to keep the focus on the homework getting done while avoiding yelling at your child to sit down, to focus, or to stop playing with the dog.

Example #2:
Your children are fighting and arguing with each other, while they are supposed to be cleaning their rooms.

Disregard the behavior you do not like: The yelling and arguing
Divert the children's attention away from the negative behavior and back to the activity. (cleaning their room). You could focus on the positives saying, "Wow you have already put away the clothes that were on your bed. Great job! Now let's turn on the radio and have a sing-along as we see what we have hidden under the bed that needs to be put away."

Don't start giving out warnings or consequences, just ignore the fighting, praise them for some progress, turn on the radio, and encourage them to sing along.

There are many ways to try to divert your child's attention away from negative behaviors. You just need to try and see what works for you and your child. WINGS has found that the best way to divert a child's attention from something negative is to try to make things more fun or interesting. This can be done through a game, a new task, or even just offering to work with the child one-on-one. The more time you spend thinking of positive, creative diversions, the less time you'll spend dwelling on and living in the negative.

"Some men look at things the way they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that are not and ask, 'Why not?'"

— Robert F. Kennedy

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