Parent-Child Interaction (page 3)

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Apr 23, 2014

Pillars of Techniques

This is the action part of your relationship-building process. When you are fully knowledgeable about what is going on and fully able to be positive, warm, and supportive, you are in a position to act appropriately and from strength. You will see that there are several choices for intervening in a situation, and you will see what a positive role they all play.

  1. Change the Environment. This method is well accepted with infants, but it is also effective with older children. Parents often naturally move a child away from one spot to a safer or better one. There are wide ranges of possible environment changes that can be applied to many different situations. Besides moving your child to a different spot, you can enrich the present surroundings. You can also remove something that is causing trouble, or you can replace it. For example, your child keeps on trying to get your attention while you are writing a letter. One thing you can do is set up your child with paper and crayons and let her do a similar activity. You can also set her up with a completely different activity. You can also move her to a different room to do the same or a different activity. You could also stop working altogether or do another activity that would not be so distracting to your child. You can also talk to your child about the situation and figure out together how to set up the surroundings so that both of you feel satisfied.
  2. Use the Sandwich Method for Supervision. Precede and follow a suggestion, recommendation, or request with a positive. For example, your child keeps leaving drawers open. He takes out his shorts, and the drawer stays wide open. He gets a spoon from the silverware drawer, and that too stays wide open. He takes out a game to play, and the same thing happens—the drawer is wide open. Here are some helpful ways to intervene. You can say, "You have such beautiful furniture. Please take better care of it by closing your drawers when you take clothes out from them. Your whole room will look so much neater." Here is another one. "You are very good at clearing your dishes after you eat. Please close the silverware drawer after you take a spoon. The kitchen will look so much better." How about this? "1 love putting up your pictures when you color them. Please close the paper drawer before you start. That will help me a lat."
  3. Be a Part of the Solution. It is always effective to participate with your child as much as possible. It can be one way to get a positive response. For example, if you ask your child to set the table, you can say, "You put out the napkins and the dishes, and I will put out the silverware." If you ask your child to fold the clothes, you can say "You fold all the clothes, and I will match the socks." Your participation gives the message of participation and the idea of the family working together.
  4. React with Humor When Appropriate. When you look openly at why your child has acted in a certain way, you may find an understandable reason. You also might find that reason to be quite humorous. Follow this example. A mother told her preschool child to wait outside after school because she would be picking her up late. When she got to school, she looked outside her child's classroom, and her daughter was nowhere to be found. She looked all over the school and finally found her daughter playing on the playground. "Where have you been?" she exclaimed. ''I've been looking all over for you. I told you to wait outside." "I was outside," the child said. "I was outside on the playground." Immediately the mother smiled. Her daughter was exactly right. She did wait outside just as had been requested. "The next time I mean wait outside the classroom," the mother said, "I will say, "Wait outside the classroom."

    Another way to use humor is with the negative sentence. Everyone likes a challenge. Here are some examples. "You wouldn't be able to put all your clothes away, would you? You couldn't read this whole book, could you? You couldn't be in bed by 8:00 PM with all your chores done, could you?" You can probably already hear loudly and clearly the "Oh yes I cans."

  5. Touch. Hug, hold, and caress your child as often and a much as you want. Physical closeness accomplishes what no words can in forming a healthy attachment to your child. This is bonding. Patting, rubbing, and rocking perform magic. Research has connected touching with physical health. One touch can successfully accomplish what a thousand words might miss.
  6. Miss a Reward. Begin to see losing a reward as part of your child guidance system. Whenever you do something that is not proper, the situation becomes less rewarding. If you do not hold a glass carefully, it will fall. If you do not dust and vacuum, your house will be dirty. This is the same for your child. If he or she does not handle a toy carefully, it will break. Many times these disappearing rewards are built into a situation, but many times they are not. If your child does not put his or her toys away, he or she will not feel any discomfort related to the situation. Someone else may trip on the clothes or be annoyed by looking at the disarray, but your child will not suffer or be inconvenienced in any way. For those kinds of situations, it is helpful to have rewards that you can take away. An appropriate one would be, "If you do not clean up your toys, you cannot go out to play." A good way to set up this situation is to say to your child, "After you put your toys away, you can go out to play." This loss of the reward is presented in a positive way. Guiding your child in this way is fair, firm, and positive. It is proactive, not reactive, and includes the perspective of teaching.


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