I think it’s safe to say that, no matter how great our kids might be, there’s always going to be some bad habit or behavior that you, as the parent, are going to want to prevent.
But as we all know, breaking a bad habit isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. Many people go through life without ever altering their own self-destructive behaviors, so it’s obviously quite a challenge to convince a toddler to stop whining for candy or quit teasing their sibling.
In today’s video, I have a few tips that should help you understand the motivation behind some of those undesirable behaviors, and leave you better equipped to prevent them with a minimal amount of protest from your little ones.Rather read than watch? Click here.
– Hi, I’m Dana, welcome to this week’s video.
Have you ever tried to change a bad habit? Yeah, I’m guessing yes, most of us have.
When you have tried to change a bad habit, have you ever noticed that the habit feels even stronger than it did before? Right, let’s say you’re making a new resolution to give up chocolate, for example. In those first few days of making this new choice, you’ll see chocolate everywhere, you’ll see ads for chocolate, you’ll walk by the chocolate store, you’ll think about chocolate way more than you ever did and you’ll think why is chocolate everywhere I’m looking When you’re trying to stop eating it.
This is called an extinction burst. This will happen around any kind of behavior you’re trying to break or change.
Now the good news is that it will subside with time but it is the biggest hurdle to getting yourself through this change. And why it’s so hard is because it’s almost like there’s a beacon out there just reminding you everywhere about what you’re trying to change.
So how does this apply to our children? Well you need to keep this in mind when you’re trying to change any behavior that’s showing up in your child so for example, let’s say every time you went to the grocery store, she started to whine for candy and you thought well, we’re in the grocery store, let’s give her some candy.
So maybe five or six times, this is now a little bit of a habit, she knows when we go to the grocery store, I make this particular noise and my mother hands me candy. Now the next time you go to the grocery store, you think you know what, this is a really bad habit we’re in, I’m not gonna do that anymore, I will not get her candy.
Into the store you go, she makes that noise and you don’t respond. She is gonna make the noise again, you don’t respond, she’s gonna make the noise louder now ’cause she’s wondering why isn’t this working, you don’t respond, the noise gets louder, you don’t respond and so what tends to happen is the behavior escalates so you might have to leave the grocery store with a child in full tantrum mode right because she’s just upping the ante, why isn’t this working, why isn’t this working, why isn’t it working and that’s why it’s so tough to change these kind of behaviors because you’re in the grocery store and your child’s having a full full fit and it’s embarrassing and so it’s tempting to go okay here’s the candy, just be quiet, right?
But now you’ve just reinforced that all the things she was doing actually work in the end and now the next time she’s gonna go to full fit, she’s just gonna skip the little noises she used to make and go into full fit mode. That’s an extinction burst.
So how do you prepare yourself for this? Well you know that it’s gonna show up so you have to push through it. It doesn’t matter how loud she gets, how many fits she throws, if you decided there’s no more candy happening at the grocery store, you have to stand strong in that.
The good news is that once the burst kind of has it’s last laugh, right, then it all settles down and eventually the child will stop even asking for candy when you go into the store because she knows that that doesn’t happen anymore. That’s the same with your body. Once you get through the burst, then you ween yourself off the addiction of sugar and caffeine and you get yourself into a healthy attitude around chocolate, it all kind of works itself out.
It’s just getting through that burst is the hardest part so remember that, anything you’re trying to change whether you’re trying to teach your child to sleep well or whine less or ask politely, it doesn’t matter what it is, it gets harder before it gets better.
Thanks for watching today, sleep well.
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