Behavior Makeover Basics

Taking the Plunge

"Am I doing enough, or did I do too much?"
"Was I too hard, or should I be stricter?"
"May I should have grounded him. Who knows? Why won't he behave?"

Raising kids is never easy, and especially so these days. We lie awake agonizing over our parenting skills and questioning our choices. But there are a few secrets that will make parenting less stressful and help our kids act the way we want.

The most important discipline secret is this: Behavior is learned, which means bad behaviors can be unlearned. Think about it. Kids aren't born obnoxious, rude, defiant, bossy, or selfish. They learn those behaviors. Then the behaviors help them get what they want, so they continue using them.

Keep in mind this critical point: bad behaviors typically don't just go away. To get rid of them, someone has to intervene, and that someone is you. Just telling your kid to stop doing a bad behavior, grounding him, and giving a brilliant lecture, followed by your sternest look, is no guarantee that he will reform. Such discipline techniques are good at halting bad behaviors temporarily, but rarely at eliminating them altogether. That's why kids typically reuse the same old bad behavior again – or a new variation of it – and we're back to square one: pleading, coaxing, yelling, threatening, and bribing them to behave. And once again we're left exhausted, frustrated, discouraged, and questioning our parenting skills.

Remember that our goal isn't just to halt our kid's bad behaviors temporarily; it is to change these behaviors so they stop using them. And that's what this book will teach you how to do. It's a new approach to discipline, and it's the approach that will help you change your child's behavior for the long term. You will end up not only with a better behaved kid, but also a much less stressed you who can finally enjoy your relationship with your child. So let's gear up for big changes by looking at a few important points about any behavior makeover.

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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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