Here is a business practice adapted for family
use, and it is compelling in its simplicity. It's based on Ken Blanchard's book
The One-Minute Manager.
1. Set a Goal
The first step is to meet with your children, and have them
"buy in" to a mutually-developed goal. Explain to them that decisions and goals
are made for one of two reasons. That is, to move away from an uncomfortable
situation, or to move towards a desired goal. The latter is certainly the better
2. Course Correction
Establish a routine of having meetings to discuss progress. If
your child is off-course, point out that the specific conduct is not assisting
them in moving towards the goal. This isn't about blame, and the session will be
most effective when you sit down together eye-to-eye. Sitting at eye level sets
the tone that this will be a discussion rather than an adult-imposed directive.
Ensure that your child helps to create the solutions.
3. Catch Them Doing Something Right
Walsh says that this technique is highly effective because
positive reinforcement boosts self-esteem, the most vital building block of
character. Children crave and require love and attention in order to thrive.
Researchers wanted to find out what was more effective with children, praising,
criticizing, or just ignoring them. They found that children who were praised
experienced a 71 percent rate of overall improvement. Those who were criticized
improved by only 19 percent, and the ignored ones improved by just 5 percent.
You have to admit that these numbers are significant. In another experiment,
researchers behind a one-way mirror observed parents as they interacted with
their children. In a specific time period, 433 occurrences of negative feedback
were observed, whereas positive reinforcement was used only 31 times.
Obviously, negative corrections are necessary when actions could lead to injury
When you observe your child expressing the desired behavior,
say things like: What a cleaver idea. I'm sure glad you are my son/daughter. I
noticed that you ____ - Keep it up. You're getting better and better at that.
You showed a lot of responsibility when you ______ . I appreciate the way you
______ . I like the way you ______ without having to be reminded. Now you've got