Catch 'Em Being Good
Don’t Wait Until They Do the Wrong Thing
Traditional discipline focuses on correcting wrong behaviors – “Don’t do this, don’t do that.”
While we want to correct our children when they misbehave, we should also make a consistent effort to point out the things they are doing well. This will encourage them to repeat good behaviors.
- “You played very nicely with the other boys and girls today. You allowed the other kids to play with your toys, and sharing is important.”
- “You did your homework before watching TV just like we asked you to do. We’re proud of you for that.”
- “Thank you for being home on time. That makes me trust you more and prevents me from worrying where you are and if you are okay.”
- “Thank you for helping me clean the house today. I don’t think I would have gotten it all done without your help.”
Even when it’s necessary to punish your children, try to point out what they did correctly following the misbehavior.
- “I’m glad you told me the truth about how the vase was broken. It’s important to tell the truth.”
- “Thank you for apologizing. That let’s me know that you understand what you did was wrong and that you care about someone else’s feelings.”
For a period of one week, keep a written tally when you talk to your children about their behavior. Make two columns – one for “Good” and one for “Bad.” Put a mark in the “Good” column when you tell your child that they are doing something right. Put a mark in the “Bad” column when you have to admonish them for doing something wrong. At the end of the week total each column.
You want to “catch ‘em being good” as often as you correct them, and this will tell you how you’re doing.