Fixing behaviour blues

Fixing behaviour blues

As summer comes to a close, many of you might be stressed about a new teacher for your child.  It might seem like your child just figured out the last teacher’s classroom system, and now you’ve got to do it all over again.  Teachers, too, are stressed.  They have the difficult job of making thirty or more kids follow the rules and learn.  It’s not easy!

At Harp Learning Institute, we deal with behavior problems all the time.  We know the two things that trip most people up: taking the behavior personally and not being consistent. Kids with learning issues have a host of behaviors they use just to cope with life, and they look to adults to help them navigate through this maze of fear.

If you threaten to take action with a child with learning issues, you’d better be prepared to follow through with the threat.  If you don’t, you’ll lose this kid.  I see this as the one thing that trips up parents and educators alike.  Suddenly, when it’s time to discipline, you see how cute the child is, how sweet he usually is, how she didn’t really mean it…the list goes on.

Following are some steps both parents and teachers can do to stop the behavior blues.

  1. State the unwanted behavior.
  2. Give a choice for the unwanted behavior.
  3. Give a consequence to the child that entails both a positive and a negative.
  4. Follow through with the consequence and the reward.
  5. Be consistent.
  6. Stay calm.

Six easy steps.  That’s it.   Here’s an example of how this might work.

“Missy.  You are whining.  There’s a better way to talk.”

“If you continue to whine, you’ll have to go to time out.”

“You can continue to whine or you can choose to use a nice voice.  If you use your nice voice, you won’t have to go to time out.”

“Okay, Missy.  I see that you’re still whining.  You’ll have to go to time out.”


“Okay, Missy.  You stopped whining.  Now you can watch a video of your choice.

That’s all it takes to help turn your child or student’s bad behavior around.  Like I said, just be cautious of empty threats.  These kids need you to be in charge of their scary world, and if they are given too much power, they only become more afraid.

Happy disciplining,


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