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Frustrated with your kids’ (or your partner’s) behavior? Dr. Catherine Pearlman discovered, over her many years of coaching parents, that often the best way to curb an undesired behavior is to give it less attention. In this episode, I talk with Catherine, who is the founder of The Family Coach and author of Ignore It! How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction, about the helpful strategies Catherine has shared with countless parents in her columns, speaking, and coaching practice.
In Ignore It, Pearlman outlines the occasions when ignoring behavior is appropriate, how to reengage when the behavior stops, and how to praise and reinforce desired behaviors. I was, of course, happy to hear that Pearlman also has vast summer camp experience as a camper, counselor, and director!
IGNORE IT! Book Description
This book teaches frustrated, stressed-out parents that selectively ignoring certain behaviors can actually inspire positive changes in their kids.
With all the whining, complaining, begging, and negotiating, parenting can seem more like a chore than a pleasure. Dr. Catherine Pearlman, syndicated columnist and one of America’s leading parenting experts, has a simple yet revolutionary solution: Ignore It!
Dr. Pearlman’s four-step process returns the joy to child rearing. Combining highly effective strategies with time-tested approaches, she teaches parents when to selectively look the other way to withdraw reinforcement for undesirable behaviors. Too often we find ourselves bargaining, debating, arguing and pleading with kids. Instead of improved behavior parents are ensuring that the behavior will not only continue but often get worse. When children receive no attention or reward for misbehavior, they realize their ways of acting are ineffective and cease doing it. Using proven strategies supported by research, this book shows parents how to:
– Avoid engaging in a power struggle
– Stop using attention as a reward for misbehavior
– Use effective behavior modification techniques to diminish and often eliminate problem behaviors
As Pearlman says, the book is for parents of kids from 2-21, but the techniques might also be useful in other settings, including with adults who have difficult behaviors!
• Pay more attention to what our kids are doing right than what they’re doing wrong.
• Know when to ask for help is a parenting strength.
• Ignore bad behavior to make your parenting more enjoyable.
• Ignore (and don’t comment on) certain behaviors to improve the parent-child relationship, especially with teens.
• Sleep is crucial for our kids (and for us) and impacts mood and behavior.
LINKS & RESOURCES
• Audrey: “I didn’t think it would be as applicable in my own life. Since my youngest kids are now 13 and 16, but I found it really applicable.”
• Catherine: “It’s not how it looks on Facebook. Everybody really is going through something. They just don’t talk about it, but I see it. So I know that everybody’s going through stuff.”
• Catherine: “When our kids start whining or complaining or arguing with us after we’ve already said no, and we’ve explained why, then we ignore their behavior and as soon as they stop, we reengage with them. It’s very simple.”
• Audrey: “Once you know what you do want them to be doing, you can reinforce that and really get it to happen more often.”
• Catherine: “I think it’s nice in my adult life when I do something nice for someone and they say, ‘thank you.’ It’s nice when I do a great job at work and my boss says, “Wow, you did a really great job.” All of those things help motivate me to continue to do a good job so if we’re realistic, we all need that.”
• Catherine: “What happens is when parents aren’t on the same page, kids use it to their advantage always. They know exactly how to work the system, how to get mom and dad against each other and to basically get what they want or to get forgotten about while mom and dad are arguing over the little thing.”
• Catherine: “Kids are really chronically overtired and that can account for a lot of mood issues. It can account for academic performance, depression, lots of issues for kids, just not getting an extra hour or two of sleep.”
• Catherine: “There’s nothing my kid can say that will let me have them keep their devices in their room because I know exactly what’s happening on them and nothing good is happening at 3:00 AM on their phones.”
• Catherine: “I live for camp. I was a camper. I was a counselor. I was a camp social worker and a Camp Director. I love camp. I send my kids to camp. I’m a big believer in the wide variety of benefits for camp.”
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ONE SIMPLE THING
“Try to live every day as if it was the final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.”
-Tim (main character in About Time)
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