Step Three: In the moment
When my stepson engages in mean behaviour, we politely remind him with positive language, “You need to use a friendly and caring tone of voice”, “Please use kind words” , “You need to try again, with a friendly (or caring) face”.
(See Neurologically Gifted’s article: Using Positive Language for Success)
If he continues with unkind behaviour we then issue a choice for him to self-correct, “You need to use a friendly voice”, or “You need to go somewhere else (give a choice) because we don’t like your behaviour right now and don’t want to be around you”. (such feelings are normal, and are the result of the child’s behaviour. This is a true-life natural consequence that your child needs to be aware of for understanding social norms. If he can’t make a positive choice independently then we would help by making the decision for him
(see Neurologically Gifted’s article Taking On Rage 4: Prepare a Plan)
While teaching my stepson, there were good days and bad days. I was not disheartened when he seemed to “slip back” a few steps. We focussed on his progress, when he applied his new learning, and we built on those moments. Always quick to give him praise for making a good choice, we built his confidence and his emotional investment in the members of our family. Once distant and unconnected to his family, he now knows he is loved, and he not only cares about us, he is quick to admit when he has made a mistake, and asks for help when he needs it.
We all do, in our family.
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