COMMON BEHAVIORS TO IGNORE:
** You can ignore behaviors as long as your child is in no danger of hurting themselves or someone else and/or they are going to destroy something that you don’t want destroyed.
Many parents try to ignore, but usually don’t ignore long enough. If you know that you “just can’t take it” then you have to either leave the room, pretend you’re reading, or actively get busy (start cooking, throw in some wash, etc.)
This type of ignoring is called “active ignoring”. Typically, parents will try to ignore a behavior and then get frustrated or annoyed and then give in. Sometimes what the tantrum started about changes to them just wanting to get your attention! You need a lot of focus when you choose to ignore a behavior because it’s much harder to do than it sounds! Once you are able to do it, life with you child can become a little easier. Ignoring is one of the best behavioral techniques out there!
TIPS ON ACTIVE IGNORING:
1. Do not look or talk to your child. That means no eye contact and not a sound!
2. One of the most important points is once you start ignoring a behavior you continue until it has stopped. (If the situation becomes dangerous, you need to intervene! For example, the screaming tantrum may change to throwing or some aggressive behavior). Some children can have a screaming tantrum for over an hour. Many can go on longer! If you ignore them for 15 minutes and then stop, all you have done is taught them to scream louder and longer because they will finally get your attention!
3. Stop ignoring them IMMEDIATELY after they stop the behavior. For example if they are having a screaming fit about wanting something and finally stop, give them attention immediately. Not give them what they want immediate, but give the attention back to them. That doesn’t mean to run and hug them and feel sorry for them because they didn’t get what they wanted, but just find something else for them to engage in. The idea here is to let them know that when they aren’t having a tantrum, they will get your attention. Some children will start demanding what they wanted originally the second you give them attention. Just start the “ignoring” over again!
4. Don’t get pulled into the guilty feeling when they say things like, “Why won’t you talk to me?” “You don’t love me!” And on and on and on! They’re just using their “technique” on you!
5. Consistency is the key! If you choose to always ignore tantrums then you must always ignore tantrums!
One of the most important things to remember is that when you use “ignoring” as a behavioral technique, the behavior will always get worse before it improves. The reason for this is because your child is trying to figure out what’s going on. After all, this worked for them before! So, they may scream louder and longer! It’s difficult to deal with at first, but once you do you will feel more in control. The behavior will decrease and they will learn that you mean what you say!
Spend time with your child! If you didn’t get there before, there is another Summer Bubble Bash Weekend on Aug. 21-22 at the Museum of Science and Discovery in Ft. Lauderdale. Lots of fun! Dress to get wet!