Parenting the button-pusher

What to do to discourage unwanted behaviours, like writing on the wall…

When we tell our kids “DO NOT DO THAT!”…and if they are like Amor…they will do it in anticipation the attention that they get and the “exciting” look on your face. That’s Amor, my button-pusher. The daughter I love so much! 

So what do we do?

We do not give vague reprimands or demerits, but we do give a consequence that is closely related to the unwanted behaviour. Example, she wrote on the wall, so she has to clean it and cannot leave the wall until all writings are cleaned…yes, even with permanent markers. See photos of her erasing her drawings.

Another example is when she says unwanted words like “stupid”. That word is never used in the house. Likely she picked it up from YouTube. When she tests our reactions to her new words, we remind her that all words that we use (as a family) are to edify and not to hurt people. She has the wisdom to know the difference. But since she’s choosing to use words that hurt people (and enjoying the shocked looked on our faces when she does), we simply turn off the computer or have no computer for the rest of the day and explain to her that we don’t want her to pick-up more hurtful words. Not watching such videos will help her avoid unwanted words. That has really reduced her use of unwanted words and button-pushing. Yes, once in a while she will try, but soon understand that her tactic is not working.

One important thing that we do is not to add big, “exciting” emotions, like using a big voice or an stern face while giving her consequence. That attention gets her to keep pushing buttons. We tell her about her unwanted behaviour and provide a consequence using a slow, boring, matter-of-fact voice. 

And for the cream on the cake, we always acknowledge all the good things Amor does. At the end of all the rubbing and scrubbing, here’s how we celebrated her:

Me: Thank you Amor for being responsible and cleaning the wall.

Amor: You know I’m not going to write on the wall the again. 😉 (works like a charm)

In fact, celebration is such an awesome technique, Amor boomerangs it back to us a lot! A few minutes later, she celebrated, “Mama, you are so good at helping me clean up.” 😜 (charming me to keep helping her. I had to help her scrub hard since the eraser couldn’t get all the writings out).

In summary, these are all the great techniques we learned from The Son-Rise Program®:

1. Use consequences directly related to the unwanted behaviour and explain why.

2. Instead of using emotion-filled response to the unwanted behaviour, move slowly in a boring way.

3. For wanted behaviours, acknowledge and CELEBRATE so they keep doing things we like! 

#SonRiseRocks, it has really helped us become better parents for Amor and all our kids!