Is it easier to teach a kid NOT to do something?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ecteach, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    Aug 2, 2014

    I recently visited with my 82 year old grandmother. She and my grandfather raised 4 absolutely wonderful, productive citizens of society. There were other people around, and one of her great grandchildren was "acting up" to say the least. (Not my child!) ;)

    His parent was trying to redirect him, and my grandma said she didn't understand why he was doing that. She said he should just tell the child, "NO!" She said the child will then decide what he/she wants to do instead. She then proceeded to say that it is easier to teach a child NOT to do something that it is to teach them to do something.

    We had a little debate (respectful of course, because that is my grandmother) and she wouldn't budge. When I got home I thought about it. Maybe she's right. What do y'all think?
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I absolutely agree with your grandmother. There are too many variables involved in doing something "right" to cover all of the bases when instructing someone to behave. Much, much easier to correct misbehavior.

    Reminds me of when I tried to teach my son how to drive. I told him not to get frustrated when it seemed like I was constantly criticizing. That the only way he would know what was acceptable was by my catching his mistakes.

    You can tell a child to give enough room to brake, for instance, but what does "enough" mean? Enough isn't the same for every scenario and giving a numerical measurement is hardly useful for someone who is driving. The 2 or 3 second rule works in some cases, but even that has to be experienced and corrected for it to become useful.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I think it depends on the kid, but I would definitely agree that most kids don't seem to hear the word "no" enough. For some kids, it's easier to redirect to something you want them to do, because if you just tell them not to do something, they'll stop doing that specific thing and move on to a cycle of 5+ other things you don't want them to do. I'm thinking of some of the more difficult kids in my summer school class that did this constantly.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Bear with me on this: when you want to stop a child or a puppy in its tracks, a loud, authoritative "NO" is almost impossible to beat. With a child, we then jump in and try to give redirection, when, in fact, the child wants to try the same thing again, to see if the reaction is the same. Good parents are consistent, and soon the child learns that this is an absolute. Puppies are almost the same, except they will not whine for a toy all the way through the food store, at the top of their lungs. How can we expect our children to internalize right from wrong, intrinsic motivation, or self discovery if we try to direct them at every turn? I am famous for saying, as a science teacher, that just because something did not turn out the way you thought it would, you are not a failure. You have simply eliminated a possibility towards your desired goal, so now there is one less thing to try. No, without a hundred directions, means "change direction, we/you are not going there." It doesn't mean that the child won't try to do the same again, but that is when parents NEED to parent. No must mean no, not, if you ask me a hundred times I will finally cave. Unfortunately, as teachers, we see the results from parents who don't say what they mean and mean what they say sitting in our classes daily. We can't be the parents, and shouldn't try to be. We can, however, be a voice of consistency, and we should strive for that. I taught my son to drive, too, and I tried to be positive when possible, but me slamming my foot into the floor pretty much was a give away that I thought the brake would be more effective applied earlier. He drove with me for a year before taking the final exam, and by that time, I could actually nap as he drove. Of all of his friends, he has the best driving record, and I am grateful - cars and insurance are expensive. :2cents:
     
  6. lilia123

    lilia123 Companion

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    I had this type of discussion with my brother and his wife. They are people who have taken the "redirection" and not saying "no' theory way to far. The reason you first redirect a young child, such as when they are throwing blocks is to teach them the appropriate way to play with the blocks. If the child is then still throwing blocks that is a defiant behavior and needs to have a consequence, such as loosing the blocks. They though just redirect, over, and over again. This has now resulted in their children not listening to them the first time. Children need consequences after they fail to follow an adults redirection or you will find yourself having to repeat yourself more and more.
     
  7. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Aug 4, 2014

    Very well put and makes sense.
     
  8. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    Your grandmother is right. ITA with this post. As an early childhood educator, we have been trained up the yin yang about redirection and how saying "no" can hurt their self-esteem, innate curiosity, and desire to explore. :| :yawn: Even a two year old can understand that once an adult models how to play appropriately, if you don't follow through, you will have consequences you don't like. That's why half the kids I've worked with don't listen, don't follow directions, and don't learn.
     
  9. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Aug 4, 2014

    I'm old fashioned like your grandmother. When I was a child, my parents told me "NO" first and explained why/redirected later.

    With my students, I do the same thing, except I also try to predict the misbehavior and give the kids strategies for what to do.

    For instance I'll tell my kids, "I know sometimes people will make you mad, but we don't hit, or pinch or kick them because then BOTH of you get in trouble. We can move away from them. We can tell them they're bugging us and to stop. We can play with another friend. We can count to ten and take deep breaths to help us calm down. If they still keep bothering us, we can tell Mrs. Catz or an adult."

    No kid is perfect, so even with the strategies, misbehavior inevitably occurs. When it does, it's a "NO" first and an immediate consequence first. The explanation of why it's not appropriate/redirection/what better choice could have made is second.

    It's worked on me as a kid, it works on my students and when I have my own children I hope it works on them. :)
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I have to add something: at the high school level we see the results of children being parented without hearing the word "no." They are sometimes quite shocked when they don't get second and even third chances at behaving correctly in class.

    I had a 14 year-old get a bit upset last year because of this. He decided to play that paper football game with a group member instead of working on their project. I saw it, shook my head and told him to put it in the trash. About 30 minutes later he was playing it again with a new paper football. I told him he was done working in a group and was now responsible for his own product, which would be due the following day at the start of class. I made him move to a desk by himself. His response, after a bit of whining, was something like "but, you only told me to stop ONE time!"
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I always started with positive statements to teach or reinforce behaviors When a child misbehaves I like the 'stop --, start---' statement. It might sound like this 'stop talking,start showing listening behavior'. 'Stop running, start walking quietly'. This way the child hears what behavior should end and gives him a positive, desire able option
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    And sometimes kids that might behave for others will play the shocked act for another seeing what it might get them. Not all kids who are shocked they aren't getting another chance really aren't shocked but are trying that method because they have seen it work before. This happens even with kids who are generally good.
     
  13. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Aug 4, 2014

    I like that technique because the teacher is able to give an immediate and clear direction (STOP), but in the same breath providing a redirection. I'm going to try this with my students this year and see how it goes. :thumb:
     
  14. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    Aug 4, 2014

    VERY TRUE!!!!
     
  15. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Aug 4, 2014

    Kids don't read your words. They read your actions. If a parent tells their child three times to turn off the tv then redirects on the fourth "nag" to "Get up the stairs, now!" the child learns the first three nos are background noise to be ignored. This is a classic case of the child training the parent in the art of discipline.

    If, however, parent says "No" once in a calm tone, then turns off tv and stands in front of it the child must give some consideration to the fact "No" just might mean something. Of course any child is not going to go quietly without a fight. They whine and blubber and tell you how unfair you are. Provided parent is consistent and acts on every "No", does not fold due to theater provided by the child, eventually the child learns it is futile to resist as the outcome is always the same. It is not just a case of saying "No" rather defining what it means.
     

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