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On the last track, we discussed Shaping Attentional Styles. This included the Sharing Attention, Recognizing the Fear of Failure and Acknowledging the Obvious.
Do you have a client whose child is deliberately defiant? Is the parent having difficulty enforcing authority through requests? How do you respond to this client?
Janene, age 38, came to me about her daughter, Jocelyn, age 7. Janene stated, "I feel like Jocelyn is deliberately defiant. She’s driving me crazy! Last week was horrible!! I’m so afraid I’m going to physically abuse her! Some highlights include the birthday party I organized for her on Monday, and she whined and complained the entire time. She never finishes her homework on time, and I had to set a timer for her to get it done. And her parent-teacher conference was one of the most mortifying of my life! She told her teacher to ‘bug off’ in my presence! What can I do about this? I don’t want people to think that I can’t effectively discipline my child, but if she isn’t responding to my requests…I don’t know what else to do. I told Jocelyn, 'It needs to change!'"
Depersonalizing Children’s Responsibility
Janene stated, "But I feel powerless to change or influence Jocelyn’s behavior! That makes it all the more painful to talk about in specific terms. The more I talk about the specifics of what Jocelyn did or didn’t do, the more powerless I feel!" I replied, "Talking by using the word ‘it’ instead of being specific regarding what Jocelyn, for example, said to the teacher may serve to soften the emotional blow or the personal embarrassment, but it most likely will not be an incentive for Jocelyn to change." Janene asked, "So what would be an incentive for Jocelyn to change?"
I stated, "Be specific. Try to make it clear about the specific behavior you would like to have changed. You might say, ‘Jocelyn, I felt angry and hurt when you threw a cup of punch on the floor because you didn't like the brand I bought.’
Discrediting Appropriate Behavior
Always Give 100% Credit
Think of a parent... you are currently treating. Would playing this track, regarding giving 100% credit, be beneficial during your next session? Do they discredit appropriate behavior by explaining it away, perhaps justifying that it should have been done, or minimizing the appropriate behavior?
Janene asked, "What if she does what I ask, but it's not done exactly right?" I stated, "Even if it's not done exactly right, give credit for the parts that are done correctly. Give Jocelyn every bit of positive reinforcement you can." Janene stated, "Well, I'll feel like a phony, because it isn't exactly how I wanted it!" I responded, "Yes, I agree. Part of you may feel that way. However, have you ever heard of the term a self-fulfilling prophecy?" Janene replied, "Yes. That's where if you think something is going to happen, it will happen…oh, yes! Now I see! If I always expect her to screw up, and don't give her credit for the parts that she does correctly, she will continue to always screw up!"
Do you have a Janene... whose child doesn’t seem to respond to requests? Might he or she benefit from hearing this track? On this track, we have discussed Communication and Children’s Responsibility. This included Depersonalizing, Discrediting Elective Behavior and Always Giving 100% Credit.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Staub, E. (1970). A child in distress: The effect of focusing responsibility on children on their attempts to help. Developmental Psychology, 2(1), 152–153.
Online Continuing Education QUESTION 2
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