kid behavior


How to Get Kids to Behave
by Alvah Parker
Parker Associates 

As a grandparent of a 5 year old and a 2 year old I suddenly have an interest in updated parenting techniques. My parenting skills are 30+ years old. My life now is centered on a career and business coaching practice but I frequently get to practice “grand” parenting techniques too when I visit my children and grandchildren. 

To do my research I went to the Internet. Since I am a coach I often use the Coachville website ( to find information. Sure enough they had a group called “Awesome Dads” led by Dovid Grossman. I clicked on that figuring no one would see that I was more likely to be a Mom than a Dad!

There are some classes there that are labeled “For Dads Only” but I found a few teleclasses listed as CV Cafe that were open to anyone. One in particular that interested me was an interview with Gary Direnfeld, an MSW and author of the book Raising Kids Without Raising Cane. When I joined the call Gary was answering the question “How do I get my kids to mind?”

Direnfeld suggested that the best way to get kids to behave is to “Catch a kid being good.” Wow that rang a bell for me. I pulled the book The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson off my shelf and found the page that said, “Help People Reach Their Full Potential Catch Them Doing Something Right” 

Another comment that Gary Direnfeld made was that the job of a parent was to help the child have a good self esteem. Direnfeld says that children with healthy self-esteem feel good about themselves, relate well to others, behave more appropriately and are more aware of the world around them. 

Blanchard and Johnson say “People who feel good about themselves produce good results.” So it would seem that the job of manager is to help people to feel good about themselves in the same way as a parent’s job is to do that for the child.

Direnfeld also made a distinction between feedback and praise. With feedback you are acknowledging the behavior without judging it. “Johnny, I see you ate your peas.” With praise you might say, “Johnny, you are such a good boy!” 

Gary says you set a child up for success when you call attention to good behavior with feedback. On the other hand most of us give feedback on poor behavior. “Johnny stop hitting your sister.” You probably still want to tell your child to stop doing things that might be dangerous to himself or others but Direnfeld also suggests telling a child what to do after you tell him/her what not to do.

Blanchard and Johnson give very specific directions for what they call the one minute praising. One step in the process is to “Tell people what they did right – be specific.” Amazing how similar the techniques are.

The hour call was filled with interesting information. What I was taking away from this rich discussion was that good parenting strategies give you life long skills that are useful in the business world and at home. 

Alvah Parker is a Business and Career Coach as well as publisher of Parker’s Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. Parker specializes in working with professionals who want to have a career that is fun, fulfilling and profitable. Alvah is found on the web at She may also be reached at 781-598-0388.

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kid behavior


kid behavior