I have a parenting tactic for dealing with bad behavior, particularly defiant behavior, that really works!
I learned this idea in our pre-adoption training, it is covered in the awesome book The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family by Karyn Purvis and David Cross, but it works beautifully with my biological children as well as my daughter who joined our family through adoption.
It is the re-do.
Here's how it works from a real life scenario I had with my 3 year old daughter tonight:
Me: "It's time to put the napkins on the table for dinner." (This is one of her regular chores.)
Her: "MOM! NO, I'm doing stamps and markers!"
Me: "Try again."
And she literally put down the craft stuff she was playing with and went and did the chore!
In times past I might have handled the defiance with a consequence, maybe a lecture, too about obeying. Or maybe I would have repeated the request and counted to three to emphasize that it needed to be done right then. But, those tactics often just escalate the issue.
The beauty of the re-do is that there is no frustration, no arguing, no tears! The child realizes they answered wrong because they were told to "try again" and then they have a choice to take the re-do and do it right without any further consequence or lecturing.
Of course every child is going to have times that the re-do doesn't work and they either refuse to try again or when they do, it is still bad. Then I have to step in with more sternness. But, I've really been amazed at how often "Try again" works, even with my strong-willed children (50% of my little darlings)!
Here's another way I daily find use for the phrase "Try again":
My 3 year old puts her shoes on the wrong feet 95% of the time! Really, wouldn't you expect her to get it right at least half the time? And flip-flops! Who could stand to wear flip-flops on the wrong feet? My 3 year old.
Do you use "Try again"? Does it work for you?
Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.