3. Have clear rules and the simplest of consequences. The world thinks that children awaken to following the rules by way of ever-escalating consequences, but kids actually awaken to successful behavior when they awaken to their inherent greatness. Challenging children often thrive in sports and video games because these environments vividly confront the child with his or her successes (bells and whistles, score, score, score). At the same time, these games give consequences that are really just momentary pauses, quick “resets” leading to the moments of success that follow.
In the Nurtured Heart Approach, we simply call it a “reset.” If the game-in is strong and exciting, then the child will be ever-more determined not to break rules, to stay in the game, and to explore further realms of success. Be willing, like in sports and video-game environments, to create exciting time-in; find the truth of all the successful next moments, after the consequence, and applaud, applaud, applaud the good choices. “Billy, I see you’re still mad about not getting the answer you wanted, but now you’re not arguing or fussing, and I so appreciate you finding your center and wisdom in handling your frustration well.”
4. Be willing to put the icing on the cake. Provide recognition of the greatness you see in your child, even in the ordinary moments. You probably know how not great it is to have a child talk back, name-call, or treat others with aggression, so let that be a barometer of how truly great it is when those problems aren’t happening. Be willing to see the greatness when other good choices are made and when rules aren’t being broken. Give expression to the appreciation that is in your heart when things are going well. “Sarah, I really appreciate how cooperative you are being in getting ready for school ahead of time today. You made it so easy for me to remain calm about getting to my meeting and that shows me you have the greatness of being thoughtful and the greatness of respecting my commitments. Thank you so much.”
You are the provider of better broadband. This will quickly lead to better choices and less challenging behavior in your children. The greater the range and frequency of your recognition, the greater the range of successes you will see in your kids. I promise.