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Explaining why behaviour is not acceptable

(8 Posts)
HeathcliffMoorland Sat 04-Dec-10 01:34:35

Hello everyone, just a small bit of background: I have three children. DD1 is 5, Ds is 4 and DD2 is 1 (but littlest one not really part of discipline strategies yet). They're generally well behaved and lovely.

I praise good behaviour. I'm not opposed to time outs and ignoring rudeness and tantrums (although tantrums few and far between at this stage). I 'natural consequence' if neither of those fit. I always consider why I'm not allowing certain behaviour.

This all works. But on top of this, I like to explain why certain behaviour is not allowed. This is tougher. I was discussing with DS why he needs to be careful with DD1's toys, and asked how he would feel if she wasn't careful with his lego. He said he'd love that (at this stage I was trying not to laugh, but don't think he noticed!). I asked why, and he said he didn't know (I think he knew precisely what he was doing!).

In a face-saving manoeuvre, I allowed the chat to fizzle out there. I know he knows to be careful, and why. I'm just looking for ways of reinforcing this. I don't plan on abandoning my other methods (even after reading Alfie Kohn!), because they work for us, but I always like to explain too - I'm just not the best at it.blush

Any tips much appreciated!

Tortington Sat 04-Dec-10 01:37:03

i alwasy went with ;becuase i say so'

no help here

Othersideofthechannel Sat 04-Dec-10 07:55:50

Because when things get broken it upsets the owner

If he says he doesn't get upset when his things get broken, you just point out that DD does.

Even when they know the reasons, you have to remind them lots of times because they are not always going to think before they act.

(Still struggling with that myself!)

purepurple Sat 04-Dec-10 08:06:07

I work in a nursery and the line I use is 'because it makes jill/jack sad'.
'You woudn't like it if jill/jack broke your toy' all said in a gentle, non-shouty way.
Sometimes they will be contrary and say they would like it.
I then just say'Well, I would be very sad if someone broke my toy' You must have a very, very sad looking face at this moment sad sad
Then move on to something else.
You will have to repeat this process over and over, to reinforce it, until they get it.

vesela Sat 04-Dec-10 09:47:57

agree with purepurple - best to phrase it very, very simply, using concepts that they can (gradually) understand.

onimolap Sat 04-Dec-10 09:52:36

You could try expanding the natural consequences a bit: if toys are lost/spoiled/broken then you will have fewer toys and you won't like that (only works if neither you nor DH rushes to replace things).

ragged Sat 04-Dec-10 10:06:36

Hurting people is wrong.
There are dozens of ways you can explain that simply -- or just say the words, they will sink in (with enough repetition).
So by extension breaking other people's toys is wrong, because it will hurt them (hurt their feelings).
Very simple, but always come back to that same fundamental message. It's the basis of ethics, anyway.

As for enjoying breaking her toys, that comes down to sibling rivalry, which needs discussing as a separate issue.

HeathcliffMoorland Sat 04-Dec-10 12:12:28

Thanks for all the replies.

I think one part of my post may have been poorly explained.

Nothing was broken, but I needed him to stop being careless with something. I did explain that it would upset DD. I then asked how he would feel if she wasn't careful with his things. He said he would enjoy it if she wasn't.

What I try to do is explain, and then ask them to deduce if the situation were reversed. The latter part is tougher (with DS anyway).

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