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!



Relationships can and often are tricky things to navigate, especially if you are coming from a place of dysfunction.  You have no guide to follow because the example that was set for you is not a functional one.  It will not bring you happy outcomes.  So, a rule of thumb that I tell people to follow, when they ask, is as follows, ask yourself: is the person you are in relationship with: your best friend, confident, partner, shoulder to cry on, the first person you think of in the morning and the last one at night, do they make you smile when you are around them or think of them, do they build you up and support you no matter what, do they tell you what they think and not necessarily what you want to hear, do they speak their truth gentle and with respect, do they stand in judgement of you when you make a mistake or do they give you a hug and help you figure it out, are they spiritually on the same path, do they try to control you, do they become angry because you disagree with them, are they able to compromise, do they have empathy, do they have a sense of humor, are they attractive to you or have you settled for what you think you can get, do they meet your needs as a lover?

Singularly these things seem like they can be overcome if not present in a person.  That will only happen if the person is willing to give you what you need and not stay stuck with who they are at the time. You have no control over them, they will change to meet your needs if they want to change, not if you want them to change.  People can and will say a lot of things and then not back them up with action.  If you are honestly trying to be there for another person you will sometimes be meeting their needs and sometimes your needs take a priority.  If you are constantly giving with nothing coming in return, you will drain yourself and begin to resent the other person.  Relationships are a give and take with ups and downs.  You will both need a sense of humor to get through the downs.  If you love this person getting through the downs should not feel like a burden.  It should feel like something you are doing together.  The relationship should never feel like a burden because no matter what happens to you, you are carrying it together.  The other person is your “go to guy” no and matter what, will never leave you alone to carry it alone. This person will never leave you feeling empty because they will be there for you, they are your best friend.  If you have been looking for a long time for the love of your life, relax, they will come.  This will help you to relax while you’re waiting.     Click here for the relaxation and guided imagery video   Enjoy!