Non Absentee Dad

Role Model Meet Behavior Model

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2010 at 10:26 am

Based on the small sample size of my group of friends that are dads, I will categorically state(that’s right categorically) that modeling correct behavior is a predominantly male shortcoming. No, I don’t mean that fathers behave badly or set poor examples for their kids. I am talking about the difficulty I, and my friends, face when correcting behavior that we deem unacceptable in our children.  We I am quick to say don’t do that, or stop doing such without providing the alternative behavior I expect.  It is easy to forget that our children don’t always know the correct behavior. Sidenote: telling them one or two times previously doesn’t always mean they’ve internalized it henceforth.

What does modeling behavior look like? Let me explain through an example. My seven month old is really exercising and enjoying her grasping reflex. This means that hair and noses or other suitable handle gets grasped and pulled.  My 3 year old has a nice head of hair that affords grabbing; you see where this is heading. Much screeching ensues because my 3yr old yanks, forcefully, her hands out of his hair. Our response to this is to put her hands back in his hair and using his hands show him how to gently remove her hands while saying to her, “gentle.” This works great on a few fronts, we cut down the screaming, my 3 year old learns to be firm but gentle and my 7 month old starts associating the word gentle with an action.

Try it the next time you want to get you child to stop a particular behavior, in some way model the behavior you would like or expect. The older they get the more you can switch to verbally asking them to figure out the correct behavior with you providing guidance.


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