Parents Corner

Flashback to 2020


Most humans like attention. Little humans particularly so.

They like attention so much that they don’t mind whether it’s negative or positive. They would much prefer positive attention as it is unpleasant to be in trouble all the time and not very good for one’s long-term mental health. But if they don’t get any of the good stuff, they will take the negative any day of the week.

But here is the trick…

40 years of research tells us that if you want to encourage positive behaviours in your child, you give more attention to positive behaviours. Energy flows where attention goes.

If you are paying lots of attention to ‘naughty’, you are going to get a bundle of ‘naughty’.

What would you prefer? Positive or negative behaviour?

Feed the positive with descriptive praise, connection, smiles, hugs, thumbs up, high fives – lots of positive attention.

So, what do you do about the negative behaviours? One strategy is called ‘planned ignoring’.

You ignore the minor negative behaviours. Completely withdraw your attention – no talking, no eye contact. As soon as (the split second) your child starts behaving in a positive way, you bring your attention back to your child.

No need for lectures or yakking. Chances are your child knows what he or she is doing. Truly, it’s that simple, pay attention to the positive and withdraw your attention from the negative.

However, if your child is exhibiting serious mistaken behaviour, planned ignoring is not the right tool for the job.

Here are some links for further reading:


Article Written + Submitted by

Narelle Smith | Parenting Facilitator

Nepean Community & Neighbourhood Services


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