“Bobby, please turn off the T.V. now.”

Ten minutes later . . . somewhat more aggravated.

“Bobby, I thought I told you to turn off the T.V. Do it now!”

Bobby made a bad choice here to be sure. However, mom did too. About nine minutes and forty-five seconds ago.
It’s called a slow response.

Now, I’m not advocating turning into a parent who can’t be flexible now and then. But when you make a direct request, keep in mind that there are appropriate child responses and inappropriate ones.

We like the appropriate ones.

Ignoring you is not one of them.

When you ask (I mean tell) your kids to do something, the first part of an appropriate response is for them to say something. Now, there are a few things they could say that are appropriate, such as, “OK, mom,” or they could ask a question or make a comment in a respectful way.


But what if they don’t?

You have two choices: A quick parental response or a slow parental response.

When you respond slowly to your child’s negative choice, it sends a message. The message is that you are not really paying attention to their negative choice so they can probably get away with it. This allows negative behaviors to continue and grow into bad habits.

On the other hand, when you respond quickly to your child’s negative choice, it sends a different message: You are paying attention to their behavior and you expect them to make respectful choices. A quick response stops negative behavior from turning into bad habit and helps your child foster good habits in their place.

For instance, when Bobby’s mom (above) asked Bobby to turn off the T.V. and he did not respond, she could have clearly and firmly repeated her request after about ten seconds of silence. If Bobby still did not respond, she could have walked over to him, positioned herself in front of the T.V. and made it clear (in the nicest of ways) that she expects him to respond to her when she talks to him. If for some strange reason (e.g., the alignment of the planets?) Bobby finds himself unable to do this while watching T.V., then he will have to refrain from watching T.V. until he finds the inner strength to fight off the gravitational pull of the television and answer his mother more respectfully.

Simple. A quick parental response, complete with clear choices, will teach Bobby that a respectful response is the only response that will bring a good result.

So, if you find that your child is starting to develop a few bad habits, take a look at your response speed.

It may be a big part of the solution.

How quickly do you respond to your child’s negative choices?

1 comment (Add your own)

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Tue, October 29, 2019 @ 12:26 PM

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