How do I get my child to listen to me and do what I say?
Even from a very early age, as a child’s personality begins to develop, it becomes apparent that some children are just not interested in listening to their parents and following their instructions. In addition to a child’s natural drive to test boundaries (and her parents’ patience), some children are just naturally more inclined to disobey. Sometimes it seems like anything you do or say will be met with an obstinate “No!” even if your child normally likes the thing you want them to do. With children who are more oppositional, traditional parenting and discipline strategies often seem to have no effect on behavior.
Issues of noncompliance are often accompanied by angry outbursts, tantrums, aggression, and acting out. Sometimes it seems like these children want to always be in trouble. The combination of these factors at home and school creates stress for parents and makes daily tasks much more difficult and time-consuming.
Imagine if your child actually wanted to do what you say. What might be different if you had a system at home you always knew exactly how to handle whatever your child throws at you, and you actually saw the nature of your interactions change? What if there was less fighting and more direction-following at home? What would you do with all of your extra time if your child no longer had meltdowns at the store?
I was trained to work with child discipline problems at the Munroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where I learned interventions from evidence-based practices, like Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Through this type of therapy, parents learn to make their time with their child such a rewarding experience for the child, that time together becomes a powerful motivator for a change in child behavior. Through shaping playtime experiences, parents can teach their child how to earn positive attention by following directions and interacting appropriately.
Additionally, I teach parents how to give effective time-outs that their children work to avoid. The key feature of this type of intervention strategy is that time-out is very boring for the child, whereas time-in is super fun, engaging, and reinforcing. Many parents think that time-outs do not work for their children, when it might just be that their time-in just isn’t fun enough. Or maybe they haven’t fully removed what the child likes about making trouble from the time-out environment. The strength of the contrast between time-out and time-in will determine the effectiveness of the intervention and how quickly the child’s behavior will change.
This type of therapy can help with a variety of behavior issues for children age 2-8 because when the child learns that he or she is able to control when and how they get reinforced, they no longer have to act out in order to get the types of interactions they find rewarding. Additionally, children learn rather quickly that not only can they control how they get attention, but also that the easiest way for them to get what they want is by following directions. Sounds too good to be true, right?
There is nothing miraculous or magical about this type of family therapy. It requires dedication, hard work, and consistency from parents, and often coordination with teachers as well. In addition, behaviors often get worse before they get better, leading many parents to give up on the intervention before seeing the fruits of their labors. Also, when I say “quickly” I mean usually within a few weeks or up to a month, depending on the level of commitment and consistency parents have. Results may vary from child to child as well, but PCIT has been shown to help parents of children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and Conduct Disorder (CD), as well as children with other special needs.
Interested in this type of therapy? Click here today to schedule an appointment by phone or online booking.
1001 S 70th St, ste 225
Lincoln, NE 68510
(402) 325-0117 x 4