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Catching Them Doing It Right | The Family Podcast Network



Oct 24

Catching Them Doing It Right

How many times have I run into my kids room at the sound of yelling to exclaim 'STOP YELLING AT YOUR SIBLINGS!' or run to the rescue of a whining 2 year old and give them what they want just to hear them stop whining?

What about disciplining my eldest for taking too long to get into bed while the younger two are already tucked in waiting for their nighttime routine?


I have disciplined the one doing it wrong too many times to count.

'What's wrong with this?' might be the question you ask. Besides the obvious of yelling at my kids to quit yelling. Oops. Definitely a parent goober moment. But the problem with this is that

I am not catching my kids doing it right.

That's right. Not catching them doing it right. This is a topic that will never be emphasized enough. I will never perfect this as a parent and this will be something that I will always be working on. But what does it even mean?

Imagine that you are a typical 9-5er pencil pusher at a large cooperation. You do your job and you do it well. You always make deadlines with time to spare. You constantly make your boss look really good. Your sick one day. Have to stay at home a few days. You were really sick. Because of that you miss a deadline. You come in the next day and begin working on it ASAP. Your boss rounds the corner, you haven't actually seen him in person for months. He approaches your desk. Your heart starts pounding and you continue to make yourself look very busy at your computer. He then continues to lay into you for missing your deadline. He doesn't want to hear excuses, he just wants results.

For all the times you have done it right, you are called out for the time you messed up.

This is how your kids feel. The difference is that kids want attention. Kids need attention. Kids will get attention any way that they can. If the only way they get attention is when they mess up, they will continue to mess up. Kids are not rational. They do not understand that this is not always smart. What they do know is that if mommy and daddy are too busy to notice me, I will do what I can to make them notice me.

So, how can we change this horrible vortex of attention for all the wrong reasons? Catch them doing it right.

Example. Tonight we all got done eating dinner. We told the kids it was time to get ready for bed. As all the kids ran into their room for bedtime routines, my eldest stopped and asked what she could do to help. Ahhhh! Rock on!!!! So instead of yelling at the littles for not stopping and seeing if mommy could use some help, I praised Anna for asking. I caught her doing it right.

Another example. I love examples. We had a friend over for the kids. As time was drawing near for her to go home, I told the kids it was time to start cleaning up the mess they had made. Today being a giant fort consisting of at least 152 blankets. As normal kids do, I poked my head in several times to find them twirling in circles or picking their noses. Literally. Ew.

One time I found their friend was folding the blankets. I immediately praised the crap out of her for working so hard. Guess what happened?

Because of me praising one child for working, the other 3 started to help as well.  

It could of easily turned into a grich fest of me griping at one child after another for not doing this, that or another, but instead I chose to wait until I found one of them doing it right. Room got done, all was right in the world. Nobody cried. It was a successful time.


So why is this concept so hard?

It is not what is being practiced in our society. We often practice what we know. How does the school system work? We have detention, after school programs, principals giving licks(dumb) to 18 year old students. Seriously, so stupid. But what would happen if we had a reward system in place instead of such a punishment one? What if you showed up to class prepared and got an automatic A added to your grade? What if showing kindness to a student got you a day off of school? What if perfect attendance got you a super awesome field trip? Not saying these are all the best ideas, but I think you get the idea.

Bringing it to a parents level, the same could go for work. Showing up on time gives you a free day off every month. Making deadlines gets you a giftcard to Starbucks. Etc, etc... You get the idea.

Now, do I think we can all live in a world of sunshine and lolly pops? No, probably not, but we could all benefit with being caught doing it right.

So, next question. Does that mean we should never punish our children? Of course not. But our motto is

for every 1 negative their should be 10 positives

For every 1 time you are getting on to your kid for something, you should be catching them doing something right 10 times. Obviously this is not an exact art, but you get the idea.

So how about giving this a whirl and see that you won't find a much happier, eager to help, easier managed child. Can I dare say I guarantee it will get better if you adopt this frame of mind? Hmmmm. You tell me!

Try it. Be consistent. Be consistent. Be consistent. Oh, and did I mention consistency is important.

My kids helping with the dishes.

Your child wants to please you. Your child also wants your attention. Why not start giving it in a positive way.


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