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Jenny Hale - Fact Sheet

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Growling- Why it doesn't work and what to do instead!

Common observation;

Child doing something he/she does every day. Whining because she can't find something, arguing because she doesn't want to put her shoes on yet and provoking her siblings by kicking their legs under the table.
Parent doing something she/he does every day. Growling. At their wits end because they have attended to this behavior so many times and nothing has changed -Parent feels stuck in a rut!

"How many times have I told you to put your stuff away?" "Why can't you just do as you are told for once?"

"I have already asked you to put your shoes on Jemma - and you are still in the same spot I saw you in ten minutes ago. Get on with it or we will be late!"

"Leave your brother alone for goodness sake. If I have to tell you to stop one more time - You will be going without your..."

It is a dance - there are steps to learn and it usually ends up the same way. Nothing much changes - a parent may feel slightly better for getting it off their chest and possibly noble for attending to the behavior.

However, it doesn't change the behavior.
There must be a more efficient way to use your time and energy?
What keeps a child doing the same annoying behavior day after day?

1. Child is fed by the negative attention - it is a form of food and will remain attractive to the child

2. The request is just words. The child has done their research and realized that you may repeat the request, threaten to withdraw something, increase the volume but not actually do anything about it. 'Let your actions do the shouting'

3. Child may find a role to play in the family - the high maintenance one - the annoying challenging one, or the quiet well behaved one etc

What to do instead?

1. Go under the radar - speak to a child quietly rather than draw attention to the behavior rather than including all the other spectators. This keeps their dignity intact and doesn't force a child into battle with you.

2. Follow through - it may be taking them by the hand, or reminding them of the chart on the fridge or quietly letting them know that dessert is off for tonight. Children should appreciate that your words are meaningful.

3. Tell the child what to do - much more often than what not to do.
From; "For goodness sake Alex, stop your grizzling. You are not going to get a thing by asking like that!"
To; "Alex, I'd be happy to make you another sandwich if you are still hungry. You come and ask me with your lovely polite words."

4. Re set the roles. If you have labeled your kids as one type - let the reins out and let them out of the box.

For more information, visit The Parenting Place