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#43: When–teaching to negative behaviors

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Today’s podcast covers the when pillar. In implementing new teaching, parents ask, “When is a good time to teach behavior skills to address problems?? The answer: As soon as possible.

The object of any corrective teaching is to bring a child back to a non-escalated state as quickly as possible.

By teaching to the negative behavior as soon as possible, you keep the problem from escalating. The longer you wait until you address the behavior, the more work you have to do to correct their behavior.

Each of us has a tolerance level of what behaviors we will accept before intervening. For some parents, they have a very low tolerance level and step in very early on to address problems. For other parents, they have a very high tolerance level and will only step in after things have gotten way out of hand.

We should work to have low tolerance levels as having low tolerance levels makes life more comfortable and improve relationships with our kids.

What does this actually look like?

Your son is playing with your daughter, and she takes his toy. Because you have a low tolerance level, you would intervene at this point and work to deescalate the situation.

What if you don’t step in? Think of what happens next. Your daughter has taken another toy. Now your son is not only crying, but he’s also starting yelling and getting angry. He tries to grab the toy from his sister. She’s teasing him and holding the toy away. His frustrating level has now reached a breaking point, and he starts hitting his sister.

Do you see how much more corrective you need to do to address the situation because you waited to step in?

How long will parents need to teach new behaviors? As long as it takes. There is no magic formula as you’re working with children who have their own thoughts, feelings, and personalities. It may be frustrating if the change is slow. Keep at it. Eventually, you will see a return on your investment.

The behavior skills that parents need to teach their children come from the Teaching-Family Model and can be found on SmarterParenting.com.

For full show notes and transcripts visit: https://www.smarterparenting.com/adhd-parenting-podcast/


Episode Transcript

This is episode 43. Let’s get started.

Smarter Parenting welcomes you to our podcast series, The Parenting Coach for ADHD. Here to heal and elevate lives is your Parenting Coach, Siope Kinikini.

Hello my friends. How is everyone? I hope everybody’s doing great and they’re fantastic. I am doing super well and actually I’m super excited about what we’re going to be talking about today. I had talked about the Teaching-Family Model. If you don’t know what the Teaching-Family Model is, it is the model that we use here at Smarter Parenting to help parents effectuate change in their families.

Now the Teaching-Family Model, I talked about it a ton before and you can find more information about it on their own website or on the Smarter Parenting website, but the Teaching-Family Model has been around for years and it was developed in order to help change and shape the behavior of children, especially children with a lot of difficulties in their behavior. So, it’s been proven and tested over time with different populations and actually all around the world. It’s a fantastic Model and it’s the one that we use.

So in my discussion about The Model, we talked about five elements there, like five pillars of The Model that sustain it and there’s the five areas of focus, which I will explain here because I think it’s important because we’re gonna focus on one of those. So the first one is Why. The Teaching-Family explains why and the why is because we are focused on relationships. On developing relationships with children and helping them form those connections with other human beings because that helps them developmentally and also improves their behavior when they’re able to connect with somebody.

The other pillar is When, so that has to do with time. When is a good time to teach to a negative behavior? How much time is it going to take? That’s the one we’re going to focus on today. The other areas are What? So what are we going to teach them? What specifically are we going to teach them? What are the steps to that? How do we do that? The fourth area is How. So how are we going to teach those steps to them to get the greatest impact? Then the fifth area is how are we going to be sure that it remains something permanent with them, which is the Do aspect of it, so that’s Role-play.

We’re going to cover each of those in future episodes, but this one I wanted to talk specifically about time. When is the best time to teach to a negative behavior? And then why or how much time does it take to see changes? Let me answer the very first question. When is the best time to teach to negative behaviors? In order to understand that, you have to understand tolerance levels and if you know what tolerance levels are, let me explain what they are. Tolerance levels is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the level at which you will tolerate a certain behavior. Now, some people have high tolerance levels and some people have low tolerance levels. If you have a high tolerance level, for example, you can hear your child throwing a tantrum and screaming and you’re not phased by it at all. You’re just like, “Oh, okay.”

The minute that they get up and they throw something against the wall and it breaks, then you start to have a problem. That would be a higher tolerance level. For other people, as soon as they hear a peep out of a child throwing a tantrum, then they lose it and they’re just like, “I need to address this right now. I need to take care of it right now. Fix it right now.” That is a low tolerance. So you have those who can watch things kind of unfold and not be reactive towards it. It’s at the point at which you intervene to change the behavior. High tolerance means you can accept a lot of these issues and you’re fine. You’re okay. It doesn’t bother you. Then the low tolerance is I only see me to see a little bit and then yeah, I’m going to make some corrections to that.

Once you understand your tolerance level, where do you fall, you can better understand when is the best time for you to teach. Now, here’s something that’s super interesting and I’ve noticed it with all the families that I’ve worked with. There are couples, spouses who have different tolerance levels. For one family, the father can have super low tolerance levels where as soon as the child even makes a peep, they kind of look at them and say, “Yeah, you better not even start.” And the mom is like, “Yeah, it doesn’t matter.” They’re pulling on her hair. They’re like grabbing her and screaming and crying and she can still carry on a conversation with a friend as if nothing is going on around her where she has a higher tolerance level.

With with spouses who are dealing with children, sometimes those tolerance levels are extremes. What you want to do in that case for anyone who’s working with the challenge is you want to bring the tolerance levels to be the same. You want them to be relatively in the same area in order to understand when is the best time to do teaching for the child, right, to change the behavior. So when is the best time to teach to a child?

Evidence has proven that the lower your tolerance level, the more successful you will be at changing and shaping the behavior. So I need to repeat that to be sure that you got it. The lower your tolerance level, the more likely you can make the changes and fix it and address those issues. That’s the best time. The earlier the better. Why? Because if you don’t address it early, then you have to deal with so much more in order to correct the behavior.

So let’s think of it like a slope. You start off on this level where everything seems to be even keel, right? Then negative behaviors start to happen and the child starts to make a dip. The farther down they go before you make a correction, the harder it is to bring them back up to the same level that they were before. If you correct it early, it’s a small dip. If you allow them to go down and you continually ignore it and your tolerance level is high, it’s going to be even more difficult for you to make a correction and have them come back to where they were before. Super important principle for you to understand that you need to go and measure your own tolerance level in order to know when is the best time to teach. When is the best time to actually teach your child to correct their behavior.

Once you know where your level is, try and lower it one more peg. Lower it. So you will address things even earlier than you need to. What this does is it sets up a boundary for your children to understand, “Hey, if I even go this close to problem behaviors, I’m going to get corrected. My parent is going to step in and make some corrections.” Right? So it is super, super important for parents to make those corrections as early as possible. That answers the issue of when. When in the pillars of the Teaching-Family Model. So when do you teach to negative behaviors? As soon as possible. You do not want to let them fester, grow or continue for long periods of time. Soon as you notice something’s wrong, do something.

It’s funny because I was in the airport not too long ago and that whole idea of see something, say something. It’s like an emergency type situation. If you see something, you should say something. And in the case with children who have negative behaviors, as soon as you see something, you should say something to make that correction because if you wait, it’s just a lot more difficult to deal with. If your child is already to a point where they are struggling with the behaviors, the earlier you can get it the better, but sometimes they throw tantrums. That’s okay, that’s okay. Address the behavior right then. As soon as you start seeing a negative behavior and fix it as as well as you can to bring them into the reality that, “Hey, this is only going to be tolerated for so long.”

Now the other aspect of answering the question of when is how much time does it take? How much time is it going to take to effectuate some of the changes that we’re looking at? Well, the easy answer and the answer that is the right answer is as long as it takes. I know you’re probably thinking, “Come on, I need a timer like I’m baking cookies.” Right? Like just stick the cookies in, 40 minutes later, voila, I have my cookies. Well, we’re not baking cookies here. We’re dealing with children with minds of their own and their own moods and their own emotions that they’re learning to manage. What happens is that if we stick a timer on those things, you may not reach your goal by the end of that time limit and you will just be frustrated.

So the thing that you need to do is understand that we are dealing with this issue of behavior that will take time to shape and to change. Think of it as like you are introducing new seeds into a garden, okay? Your child is the garden. The new seeds are the new behaviors that you want them to adopt. You’re going to have to plant those seeds and you’re going to have to work with them over time. It’s going to take a while. You’re going to have to go back, revisit, weed, water, provide sunlight. You’re going to have to continually do that during the beginning phases of planting the seed. As the plant starts to grow, it’s going to become more independent and produce its fruit on its own. You’ll have to water it, but the care that you take at the beginning of this process will be a lot more than it will be at the end of the process.

That’s the analogy that I want to use. It’s going to take some time. Now when you plant the seeds for new behaviors, just trust that when you’re planting the seeds and you’re doing all you can in the initial part of it, that it’s going to produce some fruit. Sometimes depending on the seed, it will take longer for it and sometimes you will receive fruit right away.

The important thing is to go back and just nurture it along the way in order to help that seed find its roots and actually start to produce. How long does it take? It depends on what you’re teaching. Your child’s ability to adopt that, but also just learn to be patient with the process. Trust that what you’re doing is right and just be consistent over time. You’re going to see that it’s producing fruit for you, an effective fruit that will be super helpful for you.

As we visit the the pillars, I talked about relationships before in this podcast and at this point we’re talking about when. When do you teach to negative behaviors? I’ve already stated that you want to address them as soon as you start to notice something is off. You’re going to find that it may sound like you’re a little bit naggy, but that nagginess will help define their boundaries on how far they can push things.

After a while they’ll know, “That’s the point and I can’t go any further than that because I will be corrected on that,” and that you won’t have to do that. I’m saying naggy because it depends on the person. Kids, that’s the word kids uses like, “Oh my parents are a nag. They’re nagging me.” Yeah, they’re nagging you because they’re correcting a behavior right away without waiting for it to escalate and become more difficult to deal with. That actually will save you a lot of time.

We’ve also answered the question of how long it takes. And again, it all depends. Remember you are planting for the longterm changes that you want to see happen with your child. So investing that time upfront is going to save you a ton of time. Ton of time later on as they get older. Now if your child is older, plant those seeds anyway and see what comes up. So that’s it for me for this week and this time during our podcast. Super excited to be sharing all this information with you guys. You can find more information on the Smarter Parenting website, but I suggest you visit the Teaching-Family Model website because they have a lot of information about their history, things that they’ve done.

You can find that there’s a whole association that’s involved as well and different agencies that are using this Model to help save lives, including Boys Town, which is probably one of those really well-known agencies. They’re using this model to help change the lives of the people that they’re working with, the kids that they’re working with. So we know it can work with you. We’ve seen it work with so many kids and we’re happy to share it with you. All right. That’s it for me. Feel free to leave a five-star rating wherever you’re listening to this podcast and I look forward to talking to you again soon. Okay, thanks. Bye.

Episode 26: Relationships–the Why of the Teaching-Family Model

Episode 41: When do I need ADHD Parenting Coaching?

Episode 43: What parents need to teach–behavior skills

Why it’s important to have low parenting tolerances

When parents don’t parent the same

The Teaching-Family Model

Our Teaching-Family Model Family

The Teaching-Family Association

Behavior skills of the Teaching-Family Model

Free 15-minute ADHD coaching mini-session

Podcast Transcript

The transcript text is below. You can also download the PDF file of the transcript here.