At this point you have affirmed them and set up some kind of a reward system that will reinforce to them the correct behaviour. But what if your child is not responding to the reward system?
There are times when both the positive and negative need to be combined in order for a child to get the message. When a car battery is flat and your car won’t start, two cables are required. They are then hooked up to a positive post and a negative post, then your car will likely start. So it is with a child.
Far too often when a child’s behaviour is frustrating to you the first response is negative. That is why it is very important to have the positive chart in place firs, particularly in a position where you can see it. It’s a great reminder to you to keep reinforcing correct behaviour.
One of our grandchildren couldn’t be bothered to study for the spelling tests as they figured they knew it all. The problem was the results of the tests showed differently. A star chart was set up and a star given for every day the list was studied. However, this was not enough. It wasn’t until the Wii was taken away and used as the reward (either positively or negatively) that the correct results were met.
In correcting a child’s behaviour you need to find out what it is that will cause your child to respond. You may have to remove them from a situation, have them sit on a stair and have some time out, or take a privilege away. What will work for one child may not work for the next.
One thing is for sure - you nattering and nagging at them, yelling at them or calling them something that will pierce their heart but not change their behaviour - will not work. Your words should be few, your actions should confirm your words, and the consequences need to be appropriate for the child and the age. Children need to learn that their behaviour has consequences.
One caution: don’t prolong the consequence! A small child of two will not remember in an hour from now why it is being punished and certainly won’t by tomorrow. But a six year old will know they need to study the spelling list in order to play the Wii!
Lastly, in order to see the change you desire you must be consistent. If one day you are enforcing the new rule and the next you are too tired nothing will change. However, if you consistently put the plan into action you will see what you are looking for.