Reinforcing positive behavior

If you have a child or even an adult that acts out to get attention or to try to get their point across, ignoring the behavior is often what will stop the behavior.  Again it does not happen instantly.  it takes 3 weeks to change a behavior and 3 more weeks to make that behavior a habit.  While you are ignoring the negative behavior you should be reinforcing the positive behavior.  Catch them being good.  I made an example of what I meant by this in an earlier blog, but it goes something like this:  a child who has ADHD and could not sit still for anything, even to eat, was getting worse with his behavior. The parents were only addressing the behavior when he was in trouble and needing a time out.  The end result of this was the parents were taught how to catch him being good and soon the child was being reinforced for the positive things he was doing and not the negative.  He was sitting down to eat a meal with his family and not doing negative things just to get attention.  He was doing positive things instead.

Catching them being good is not easy at first because you have usually taught them to get attention only by doing negative things.  So start small and do not expect them to do anything that you have not taught them to do.  Whatever you have yelled at, punished or otherwise given attention to, they will repeat to get attention because that is the only attention they are getting.  Stop giving it attention and give something positive your attention.  Even if it just happens for a moment, verbally praise it.  Like in the example above the child was only able to stand still for a moment but it was verbally praised and the next time he did it for a little longer, until he was sitting at the table for an entire meal talking with his family.  You can also create opportunities for your child to be good and then praise them for doing so.  You will have to be stronger than your child and not give in when the going gets tough.  Because it will get tough. They will want to continue to do what they have always done, get you to back down by being as obnoxious as they can be.

Again nothing very good happens quickly.  Nothing real happens quickly.  Remember if you have been doing this for a while, it will take a while to undo it.  I know you are tired of it, but  your child is worth the effort.  If it is an adult you will have to do some soul-searching to find out if the relationship is worth the effort put into it.  If you pray, do that, if you meditate do that.  You will have to be centered yourself to be calm enough to do this.  it will not be easy, but it is worth the effort once it is done.  You may also want to use my video on relaxation to stay calm and give away anything that is getting in the way of keeping your peace and connecting with your child.    Click here for the link to the Video’s.   enjoy!


Emotional maturity

Most of us are the same age emotionally, mentally and chronologically.  Some of us are not.  The reasons can vary.  Most, however are a result of trauma.  It can be an emotional, physical, verbal, sexual or mental trauma event.  Trauma can be anything that our minds are not prepared to comprehend,  do not understand,  are not old enough or mature enough to understand at the time the event (s) occurred.   If we have had one of these events, we will be stuck at whatever age we were at the time of the event.  Our emotional maturity will stop at that age.  We will continue to grow physically and mentally but we will emotionally be stuck at that age until we deal with the emotions attached to that event.  I have spoken a lot about this in my blog.  That is because I often speak to people who emotional are immature.  Those are the people who are in their 30’s, 40’s or 50’s and are still acting like they are children.  I am not talking about being able to have fun.  All of us should never give up the ability to have fun, find fun in what we are doing.  I am talking about those that are still acting like they are adolescent.  Taking no responsibility, cannot hold a job, angry at everything, fighting all of the time, may have an arrest record, drinking, drugging, manipulative, drama queens and generally  unreliable.  We probable all have at least one in our family.  These people did not get this way by themselves.  They will be responsible for getting themselves the help they need to mature emotionally.  If they are drinking or drugging they will have a greater difficulty because they will have to overcome the drinking and drugging before they can deal with the underlying causal factor.  Under every drinker or drug addict is a causal factor, but that is for another blog.  If the drinker or addict tries to deal with the trauma while still drinking, it will not work.  They will still be running away from the emotions by drinking or drugging, they have to feel them and neutralize them.  The addictive behavior will only add to the existing problem.

Trust and forgiveness are essential to recovery.  Trusting the therapist and themselves, and forgiveness.  The most important person to forgive is themselves.  Most trauma victims think they should have been able to stop whatever happened, especially if they are male and have been molested, again for another blog.  You will have to again be relaxed enough with your therapist to tell them things you have probable never told anyone before.  All of that takes time.  Be patient and relax.  This will help.   Click here for the videos  Enjoy!