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Behavior Makeover: Fighting

Behavior Makeover Plan
Take a minute to think about how you solved problems when you were a kid. Did your parents teach you how to solve problems? Do you have a method for solving problems in your relationships or at work today? Is this a skill you are able to model to your children, or do you need to do some more work on it yourself?

Now it's time to take action to begin making over your kid's behavior. Use your Makeover Journal to write down your thoughts and develop your plan.

  1. Think about how your child typically reacts to a problem. Does she stay calm, or does her body tense up? Does she confront the problem, or does she walk away from it? Does she coolly try to solve the problem, or does she become so anxious that she needs help calming down? If any of these is her typical response, there might be an immediate need for her to learn Step One: Stop and Calm Down. Write a plan.

  2. Review Step Two with your child. This is a hard step for many kids to learn, so maybe the best way is for you to model it by telling a story about one of your own problems. Then show your kid how to listen when she tells you her side of the story. Ask questions to help her fill in the important details, and then model repeating back what your child told you so you can model being in her shoes.

  3. Review Steps Three and Four with your child. Encourage your kid to think of solutions to any problem, and remind her to say anything that comes to her mind, no matter how wild and crazy it may seem to her.

  4. Review Step Five, and help your child practice weighing consequences. Try to find teachable moments throughout the day that you could use as examples of how everyday conflicts get resolved without fighting.
Makeover Pledge
How will you use the five steps and the Behavior Makeover Plan to help your kid achieve long-term change? On the lines below, write exactly what you agree to do within the next twenty-four hours to begin your kid's behavior makeover.

Makeover Results
All behavior makeovers take hard work, constant practice, and parental reinforcement. Each step your kid takes toward change may be a small one, so be sure to acknowledge and congratulate every one of them along the way. It takes a minimum of twenty-one days to see real results, so don't give up too soon. Remember that if one strategy doesn't work, another will. Write your child's weekly progress on the following lines. Keep track of daily progress in your Makeover Journal.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3


Conflict Resolution: Communication, Cooperation, Compromise, by Robert Wandberg (Mankato, Minn.: Lifematters Press, 2000). Helps teens and young adults learn critical life skills to resolve conflicts.

Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids: Practical Ways to Create a Calm and Happy Home, by Naomi Drew (New York: Kensington, 2000). If you're going to buy one book on creating a harmonious home, this should be it. Drew is an expert, and her ideas are practical.

Getting to Resolution: Turning Conflict into Collaboration, by Steward Levine (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1998). Step-by-step guidelines through the process of resolving conflicts.

Getting to Peace: Transforming Conflicts at Home, at Work, and in the World, by William Ury (New York: Viking Press, 1999). A renowned expert on negotiation and peacemaking offers tips on how to achieve peace at home, at work, and in the community so we can live together peacefully.

Conflict Resolution: The Win-Win Solution, by Carolyn Casey (Berkeley Heights, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, 2001). Strategies for dealing nonviolently with peers, parents, teachers, and others. For ages 12 to 15.

We Can Work It Out: Conflict Resolution for Children, by Barbara Kay Pollard (Berkeley, Calif.: Tricycle Press, 2000). A straightforward format to help kids learn skills to handle fourteen difficult situations, such as anger, teasing, hitting, and excluding. For ages 5 to 8.

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From No More Misbehavin' by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2003 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.

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