Behavior management is in your job description as a parent. Some parents don’t like this job, and their kids run wild. Other parents see this as their only job, and their kids are rigid, uncreative, and often fear-driven. In my book, Teachable Moments: Building Blocks of Christian Parenting, I offer step-by-step directions of a relational, interactive version of behavior management centered on what I call The Good Kid Chart.
Eight year old Dante was bossing his little sister around and getting her to do his chores. “Son, you know better than that,” growled Dad. “How would you like me to do that to you? Go to your room.”
Well, yeah. That’s exactly how Dad was treating Dante. Where do you think Dante learned to boss his sister around and get her to do his work? Is he going to learn not to boss his sister by being sent to his room?
The Good Kid Chart is the focus of a productive, positive, change-oriented version of standard behavior management. The name itself is a directive on helping your child become a good kid. After you and your spouse identify the target behaviors you want your child to work on, sit down with him to review the procedures. Target behaviors, by the way, are always positively oriented. No one wants to work toward a negative. So, “Don’t be bossy to your sister” becomes “Play nicely and treat your sister with respect.”
There are four components of the system. During a family meeting with your child, orient him to The Good Kid Chart. Active listen his protests and prompt his working on meeting the target behaviors. Then compile three lists of 6-10 items each. A list of daily rewards, of weekly rewards, and of consequences. The more involved your child is in creating these lists, the more he will buy into the process. Daily and weekly rewards are always within your time and resource limits. Consequences occur with severe outburst. If you want Dante to play nice with his sister and he yells at her and pushes her down, that’s severe. He not only does not get a sticker on his Good Kid Chart, but also gets a punishment. Allowing him to pick one of 6-10 consequences helps him own his punishment. If he refuses, you get to pick two.
The Good Kid Chart. What a great way to create teachable moments and help you child become the person you want him to be.