I (Brandi) am the one who writes the majority of the blog entries. However, I am wanting to incorporate the opinions, thoughts, and expertise of others in order to broaden our readers thinking and to embrace others ways of thinking as well. So naturally, I wanted Kris to do one of the first…… Kris serves AAE as our certified Professional Crises Management and Behavior Tools Trainer. In this entry, he shares his thoughts on good and positive consequences compared to negative consequences. Kris also makes you a challenge. I encourage each of you take this challenge and report back to us your results……
As a parent have you ever questioned if your discipline procedures were working with your children? Is your child learning what you are attempting to teach? Are you able to see enough progress that you are confident you can one day let them do things or go places on their own? Is your preteen trustworthy enough that you will one day soon allow them to drive the car out of the driveway without your supervision?
Or perhaps, you are a teacher who has pondered if your student’s behavior is due to your classroom management skills? Do your students’ exhibit repeat behaviors? Are your threats seen as viable or are they just words spoke into the air? Do you seem to discipline the same students for the same infractions yet seeing little or no results? Have you found yourself questioning if your days are spent more trying to control your students behaviors more than time spent teaching?
As the adult, if any of these situations even closely mirror anything we are currently experiencing we must ask ourselves “are we doing things the way we have always done them, yet expecting different results?” Are we willing to think outside the box to make a change for the better? Do we have the ability to look at things from a different perspective. While many of us, as parents or teachers would see these shortcomings in our effectiveness as epic failures- we must consider that our world has changed drastically, including our children. If you don’t believe that glance at your mobile device, your technology savvy car/truck and the computer that can fit into your pocket or bag. Our lives have changed!! No one is saying the things our parents did with us as a form of correction or guidance won’t work now or is not good for our children. We are saying there are other possible strategies we could use with our children/students that most of us may have never considered.
Consider this….. If as a child every time your mom or dad came by your room or your teacher walked by your desk, he or she ALWAYS got on to you for something!!! How often would you want to see them coming or see them at all? Never!!!! Could this be how your children feel about you? Do your students dread you walking down the aisle for fear of what you might say? If this behavior is often exhibited in your daily routine, you need to put yourself in your child or student’s place.
Think about this….If you are at work and your boss asks you to do a project and he gives you a dead line of two days….. Two days later the boss returns and asks for the project. IF you are not prepared, ran out of time, or just blatantly didn’t do it, who gets the blame? You do. Why? Because as an employee it was your responsibility to get it done when the boss asked you to do it. Unless other arrangements had been made. If you did the job and did it well, who gets the praise…. You do? Why? Because you fulfilled the expectation of what was expected of you. But despite what the boss decides to do at that point you earned, whether it is something good or bad. Your bosses reaction is what we call consequences.
Consequences are things that come after a behavior happens. Although most often considered bad, consequences can be good. One thing for sure- if you where the employee who failed to complete the job you were asked to complete YOU earned whatever bad consequence your boss throws your way because you didn’t do what was asked or expected. But let’s look at the other side. What if you did accomplish the project in time and met or possibly exceeded his expectations. Many would think that is exactly what you should have done. Why? Because that is what was asked of you, and the story ends there. But Not so fast my friend! Consider this…… What if you earned something for doing this project? A good consequence? Would you be more likely to repeat that action or job again or would you choose Not to do it anymore?
One of the things I often share with workshop and training attendees is the fact that there is a specific reason why as a society we have had to continue building more jails. It isn’t because the ones we had were built poorly or were necessarily outdated. It is because the style of behavior management we use as a nation is not working. Or at least it isn’t working like it is supposed to. Now, don’t get me wrong, we most certainly have to have a judicial system and form of punishment to exist. We can say with certainty that it does work for some offenders, while for others, it will never work, thus the repeat offenders.
The children in our homes and classrooms are being guided by the adults in their lives. The way we live our lives, make decisions and take responsibility for our own actions speaks to those watching regardless if we believe they are noticing or not. As the adults, we have to come up with a way to assure our children and students are learning the lessons we are modeling. Will all students respond? Not necessarily but we can make it work for the vast majority.
Within the realm of behavior management and interventions, here are 7 things I would suggest you try adding to what you already have in place see if you different results!
1. Reward instead of Punish: Instead of always punishing the “bad” things try rewarding the good stuff. Give great “things” for doing the “right” stuff. Attempt to be more on the lookout for the good things your children or students do instead of just the bad.
Put the responsibility back on the child/ student for doing what they were supposed to do by using these two terms. Either the they earned the good consequence for their behavior or accomplishment or they didn’t. It is up to them not the parent or the teacher.
3. Ignore the Trash: Anytime you get things that you can ignore, IGNORE!! It is trash…. So put those behaviors in the trash. What are examples of trash behavior? Actions such as whining, gripping, smart mouthing, cussing, etc. is trash behavior. Although difficult just move on and chunk it. The more attention you as the adult gives such behavior the more of that behavior you will get.
4. Valuable Enough: Is the good consequence valuable? Whatever the good consequence is for the actions taken, it has to be worth it. Just worth it enough to gain the skill. Most of us, and yes I said us, are not willing to do most things, if we do not feel that the result of our behavior is valuable enough. If your boss walked in today and said we are cutting your pay in half starting tomorrow, most, if not all, would resign within the hour. WHY? Because despite how much we love our jobs most would say not that much. Why? Because loving our job doesn’t pay the bills. As adults we sometimes forget that we all work for something regardless of our age, and our children and students are no different. Make it worth it!
5. Know Your Audience: As parents and teachers, your number one priority should be to Know your kid/student. You should know what makes them tick or get ticked off. Do not be the sort of parent or teacher who pushes their buttons to explode the ticking time bomb. You have to be able to know how much to push, how hard to pull and when to just back off. Our children and students behavior will improve if we were to learn these three simple things. Do these three things change? Most certainly they do, so pay attention!
6. Stay Level: Reacting to certain things is sometimes much worse than engaging in them. You need to stay on the ground with both feet and show no shock, despair, or angst, although sometimes difficult to hide. We are human, but choosing to remain calm and staying at an even keel will sometimes get the undesired behaviors to cease.
7. Mean It: No one wants to be around fake people. You never know where you stand. Mean what you SAY and DO; and SAY what you MEAN! They will know the difference.
Some of you reading this my be saying, yea right, this all sound great and wonderful to you in some dream world that someone else lives in. Then you are going to start listing your reasons as to why the above 7 interventions will not work. But before you get to carried away, I challenge you to try it. I too not to long ago felt the same exact way some of you may be feeling right now. Regardless if you are a parent of five kids who are teens, or a teacher with 20 years experience, It is hard to break old habits. Trying new things are difficult. Change is difficult….. Actions are more difficult than naysaying…… But some behavior is the adult’s problem not the kids/students.
Throughout the summer, I challenged the staff in a variety schools with this very challenge. I too am going to challenge you. If you are a parent, I dare you to begin to take notice of the positive things your child does. Take these 7 suggested interventions and run with it. Just try it and see if it doesn’t work. Now for you teachers, it is the beginning of the year. It is the perfect chance to start a new. A new group of kids for you to get to know, learn and model for. Now, I am not naive enough to think that everyone will accept this challenge. Nor do I think that everyone who is willing to take this challenge will find that it will work. All interventions or strategies will not work with everyone because there is nothing that will. However, I think many of you will find that it does work for many of your children and students. It will be a welcomed change of pace and you might just be surprised at what the outcomes are!
6 Week Challenge
I challenge you, for the next 6 weeks, YES, 6 weeks!!(not 6hrs or 6 days), to be the good cop, the parent or teacher looking for the good things your children or students are doing verses the bad. Obviously, there maybe some things that must be addressed due to the danger, or extremes etc but consciously look for good stuff and then give good stuff for it. Verbal praise is cheap!!! It is easy to give and is not time consuming. For others, good things maybe small toys, prizes or privileges just remember it has to be worth it… While for others it could be recognition, a pat on the back, a thumbs up, knuckle bumps or items of more value. The good consequences are often dependent on the child or students personality or preferences, developmental level, and age. You must also consider what goal you are trying to accomplish.
You have to know your audience, your children/student and know them well. When they don’t meet your challenge, empathize with them. Let them know you understand how hard it might be. Keep in mind, I never said you agreed with them or any of their excuses. I said empathize with them. You will be surprised what that one thing might do to help them reach the task you have set for them. I encourage you….. take the challenge!!! Do it for you, do it for your children, do it for your students and report the results. I can’t wait to hear what happens!!