Gaining Compliance with Your Child

How do you keep your child from going “Mommy or Daddy deaf”?  Often, it can seem very difficult to get your child to pay attention to you, or to get them to do their daily chores, or to do their homework, or eat their vegetables.  The list seems infinite!  But not to worry… gaining compliance with your child is possible. Try some of these helpful strategies and you may just see an increase in the percentage of cooperative behavior in your household.

  1. Specific Commands – State specific, one-step, 10-words-or-less commands to the child.  For example, “Pick up your shoes now, please” or “go brush your teeth now.”
  2. Use Effective Warnings – After the child is non-compliant to a specific command, give him or her one warning.  For example, “If you don’t [do specific command], then you will [have specific consequence].”
  3. Use Natural/Logical Consequences – If the child doesn’t comply with the warning, give a consequence. The best consequences teach, rather than punish, the child.  For example, if the child leaves his/her bike in the driveway, then they lose their bike privileges for a specific time period.
  4. Reinforce Compliance – Offer praise or other forms of positive attention when the child complies with your command.
  5. Pick Your Battles – When trying to change several behaviors, do not ask the child to comply with too many new things simultaneously; choose those things that are most important and work with the child on those.
  6. Increase Positive Reinforcement – Pay attention to and reinforce neutral and positive on-going behavior.
  7. Don’t give in – Avoid allowing your child to get his/her way by escalating his/her aversive behavior.
  8. Ignore – Don’t pay attention to mild attention-seeking behavior (e.g. whining, pouting, etc.).
  9. ACT—DON’T YAK! – No need to threaten or yell.  Avoid escalating your behavior to get the child to comply.
  10. Stay cool.  Remember:  YOU DO NOT WIN A POWER STRUGGLE BY HAVING ONE.  Don’t get emotionally involved (angry, frustrated, etc.).

Remember that getting your child to be more cooperative may take some time.  Add in lots of love and a little patience, and you will have the key ingredients to make this a successful endeavor.

Choosing Life Without Regrets

There was a time in my career when I worked in a medical hospital with patients who were facing death.  Though people develop differing attitudes when they know that their death is imminent, many express feelings of regret.

In the hope of encouraging you to consider living life in ways to avoid these, here is what a lot of people say they regret.

1.  Choosing not to live their lives in ways that they really wanted, but how they were expected to live them.

These are the people who discovered their passions but did not pursue them.  They had dreams but never acted on them.  They let the opinions of others or culture dictate their decisions.  What they chose wasn’t necessarily bad, but wasn’t as fulfilling as what might have been.  Frequently their sadness at life’s end is around the pursuit of money and “things” instead of relationships and their own true preferences.

2.  Working much and living little.

They worked instead of being involved in the lives of their children, whether it was their sports involvements, recitals, plays, or even homework.  They didn’t spend enough time just enjoying the relationship and “playing” with their spouse.

They worked hard to create a “lifestyle” instead of making a living so they could savor life.  There seems to be a movement recently to simplify in order to satisfy.  It’s difficult in our “get all you can get” culture to choose to downsize lifestyle and enlarge living, but the needed perspective and painful regret appear when health is lost.  Then it is too late.  Some of the most painful statements start with “I wish I had/hadn’t…”  At the end, newer, bigger, better, and more don’t mean much.

3.  Fearing to break the silence and speak the truth.

People often express regret at not having had the courage to appropriately express their true feelings.  The usual result is thinking less of themselves for keeping quiet instead of being pleased with themselves for speaking their truth and running the risk of “upsetting someone else, hurting their feelings, avoiding conflict” or whatever excuse they used to support their fearful silence.

Over time, bottling negative feelings creates resentment and bitterness toward others AND toward the one whose voice is silent by choice.  Bottling the positive feelings leads to sadness from missed opportunities and relationships not beginning or being nourished.

Speaking your truth with courage can add to the depth of a healthy relationship or the end of an unhealthy one.  That’s seems like a win-win to me.

4.  Neglecting to maintain and to nurture valued friendships of old.

The usual reason given is simply choosing to be busy with things that are now seen (with the benefit of hindsight and impending death) as far less important than those wonderful, rewarding, and rare relationships.

Realizing that loving relationships are the most valuable commodity human beings can possess comes too late when you only have weeks or days to live.  If nurturing them over time and benefiting from them for years has been missed, they will also be missed as special support during those last days.

They will be missed, not because of preoccupation, but because of the absence of intending to pay attention to those we truly value.

5.  Failing to CHOOSE to be happy.

Huh?  Yes, happiness is a choice.  We can consciously choose to focus on being positive, using language “in our head” that gets us out of the rut of familiarity, frees us from unhealthy or unpleasurable behavioral patterns, overcomes our fear of change, relieves us of the weight of pretending to be satisfied with our lives, allows us to laugh more and be serious less, and encourages more smiles than looks of fatigue, boredom, and sadness.  We can do this consciously and intentionally.

If you don’t know what it would take for you to be successful at achieving this goal, give it some serious thought, talk about it with someone you love, go to a comedy club, rent a funny movie, or call a therapist.

Like Nike said, “Just do it!”, before it’s too late.

Beauty, Brains, and Cash… We Want MORE!

Is it better to have more or less?  This is the newest marketing ploy presented by AT&T.  The commercials take place in elementary school classrooms.  In one particular scene the adult asks the question, “Who thinks more is better than less?”  The young girl finishes her answer with, “We want more, we want more, like, you really like it, you want more.”  It’s not complicated, says AT&T, “more is better.”

Though this is a brilliant marketing tool and the commercials are adorable, I have to disagree.  These marketers are capitalizing on the fact that the desire for MORE is the very thing that drives our society.  However, it is also the very thing that often leaves us unfulfilled, unhappy, and wondering what happened to the enjoyable life we used to know.  I would have to argue that more is NOT always better.

Here’s the tricky part.  More usually feels better in the moment.  It feels good and provides instant gratification but it doesn’t always last.  You know the saying, “I’ll feel better when…”  We’ve all said it.  This is how marketers keep us coming back for the next gadget or the newest upgrade and why most Americans spend life hopping on and off the hamster wheel, running at a very fast pace, looking for more.  We want more money, more technological devices, more clothes, more success, more dates, a bigger house, a fancier car, to lose more weight, and the list goes on and on, and we are never content.

However, what these marketing ploys and our society in general seem to be missing is that, at our core, human beings are relational people.  We were created to relate, connect, and love one another.  In the quest for more, the things that each individual person values the most get pushed aside.  Leaving us with a society in which external feedback is the source of esteem.  We look for affirmation from others, job promotions, more Facebook friends, or comments about how smart or impressive our kids are to fill our sense of self.  The hamster wheel does not allow time for a meaningful conversation with a friend or a quiet read on a beautiful day.

Sadly, our children are being born in to a society in which the idea that “more is better” is a way of life.  They won’t even have the understanding that at one point there was a society in which wanting more was not the norm.  What are we to do, you ask?   As parents and leaders of the younger generation, we have the opportunity to make a change and it starts by transforming our perspective and our behavior.  It starts when we get off of the hamster wheel ourselves and let them follow our lead.  Here’s an idea of a place to start:

  • Get to know yourself again.  The part of you that doesn’t need goggles and rain gear to protect you from all the debris that flies your way as you continuously spin through life.   I bet that person remembers the very values that were pushed aside when society told you to jump on this wheel and leave everything behind.
  • Identify the values you discover in this process.  Write them down.  Own them.
  • Create goals that will allow you to honor these valuesPick a value that ranks at the top of your list.  Identify a plan to honor that value and follow through.  Example:  I value the opportunity to be creative. To honor this value, I will dedicate a 2- hour period every Thursday morning to work on the poetry I love to write.

As you begin to live more congruently with your value system, your esteem will naturally build and you will find you have everything you need within yourself.  You won’t need more in order to be fulfilled.

Life According to the Birkman Method®

“What should I do with my life?” Most of us have asked this question at some point in our journey. If you are a teenager trying to decide which college to attend, a college student aiming to find the best major for your interests, an adult who wants to make a career change or a spouse who wants to improve your relationships… The Birkman Method® Assessment may be a useful tool for you.

So, what exactly is the Birkman Method? * The Birkman Method® consists of a 298-question online personality assessment and a series of related report sets that enhance career counseling and interpersonal conflict resolution, and executive coaching leadership development. The Birkman Method® combines motivational, behavioral and interest evaluation into one single assessment, which provides a multi-dimensional and comprehensive analysis, thus reducing the need for multiple assessments. The questionnaire is delivered on-line and should take about 45 minutes to complete. It has been translated into 11 languages in addition to English.

In brief, The Birkman Method® includes the five following major perspectives:
1. Usual Behavior – an individual’s effective behavioral style of dealing with relationships and tasks.
2. Underlying Needs – an individual’s expectations of how relationships and social situations should be governed in context of the relationship or situation.
3. Stress Behaviors – an individual’s ineffective style of dealing with relationships or tasks; behavior observed when underlying needs are not met.
4. Interests – an individual’s expressed preference for job titles based on the assumption of equal economic rewards.
5. Organizational Focus – the perspective in which an individual views problems and solutions relating to organizational goals.

The Birkman can be used in a wide range of applications because it is a non-clinical instrument for measuring human behavior and occupational strengths. Many have found it helpful for pre-employment, individual development, career guidance, career management, career transition, counseling, martial counseling, coaching, executive coaching, leadership development, team building, team development, conflict management, stress management, culture management, workplace diversity, crisis management, retirement planning, and succession planning.

The Birkman Method Assessment’s insightful reports are designed to be used by Birkman Certified Consultants and those that have received training in The Birkman Method®. If you’re interested in completing the Birkman assessment, please contact us at 713-365-9015 or heritage@heritagebehavioral.com to find out more about cost and availability. After this, I will send you a link to complete since The Birkman Method® is delivered on-line. Then, we’ll meet in person for feedback that will be given using a report-set that best fits your needs.

*Used with permission and adapted from  www.birkman.com. Accessed on April 8, 2013 online at http://www.birkman.com/birkmanMethod/whatIsTheBirkmanMethod.php