PARENT COMMUNICATION TIPS
WHEN GIVING PRAISE:
Most important rule: Use statements that deal only with child’s efforts and accomplishments, not with his character or personality.
Be specific and concrete.
AVOID ASKING QUESTIONS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE (PARTICULARLY “WHY?” QUESTIONS:
Questions place the child-on the defensive.
Look for strengths in child and opportunities to “stroke” desired behaviors. It’s very easy to become too focused on negative behaviors.
MAKE DISTINCTION BETWEEN FEELINGS AND ACTIONS:
Feelings need to be identified and acknowledged; undesirable actions may have to be limited, stopped or redirected.
Make rules that are specific, behavioral and concrete.
SAY WHAT YOU WANT (NOT WHAT YOU DON’T WANT)
State things positively.
ACT INSTEAD OF TALKING:
After you have said what you want, if not forthcoming, do something.
STAY IN CHARGE:
In order to get the behavior you want, expect to enforce it!
If you say something will happen, e.g. a consequence, make it happen.
MHN: Family Communication Page 13
SUPPORT EACH OTHER:
Make rules that you both believe in and feel okay about enforcing.
AVOID MIXING NURTURING AND ENFORCEMENT:
Provide nurturing at other times.
SET REASONABLE LIMITS ON CHILD’S ACTIONS:
Make very clear and explicit.
MODEL THE KIND OF BEHAVIOR YOU WANT:
“Don’t do as I do, do as I say” simply doesn’t work.
WORK ON VERY SPECIFIC BEHAVIORS, ONE AT A-TIME:
Avoid talking in global terms or using judgmental words.
Should be fairly immediate or close (in time) to specific behavior.
WITHDRAWAL FROM THE SITUATION:
When you feel your continued presence will only reinforce the behavior and/or escalate into a power struggle.
REFRAIN FROM ACTING ON YOUR FIRST IMPULSE:
Think about what you would normally do, then do something different, perhaps the opposite.