There are rules we all follow. They offer us comfort, and allow society, our workplaces and schools to function successfully. So it goes for kids at home. When kids know the rules and expectations, they can choose to follow them or to break them, just as we can. This allows for reduced anxiety for your children, less internal questioning, increased self-control, increased decision-making skills and more emotional comfort.

When we provide them with abundant examples of what we’d like to see in their behavior, we support them in being more ready and able to meet our expectations, and shine!

Consider this, praising positive behaviors that we would like to see rather than punishing and reprimanding the bad behaviors will give us more of what we want to see. Positive reinforcement has a more successful outcomes than negative, although this may be very hard to keep in mind and sound counterintuitive when we’re under all of life‘s current stresses, along with kids pushing our buttons. It does indeed bring about results!

Moreover, encouraging children to self-reflect after they have met our expectations, and then going ahead and asking them how it felt to accomplish, or how it made them feel? Or perhaps if they felt proud, and you can comment that you would love to see them do that again, since it made them feel so good about themselves.

If your family expectations are no fighting in the car and all you find yourself doing is yelling try this instead:

At night during a low pressure moment where it’s comfortable and talking is easy, ask your kids what it looks like when kids in a car are getting along. Ask them to share some examples of what that looks like. Perhaps they include keeping their hands to themselves, talking and sharing ideas, playing games, or singing songs, talking about things but they are not fighting. Perhaps they are thinking about things to themselves. Perhaps they’re playing with something, but they don’t fight about sharing it because each of them have brought things they like. These examples may they look very different in your car, but what you’re looking for is for your children to give you three examples that you can all hold as shared expectations. Tell your children that tomorrow in the car you would love it if they could show you keeping their hands to themselves using inside voices and playing with their own things or perhaps having a conversation. That morning at breakfast discuss your shared expectations, and again right before you get in the car. Talk about how great it would be to see.

While you’re in the car praise any behavior you see that was agreed upon as good car behavior- those examples you all agreed to the night before. Tell the kids how good of a job they are each doing, naming the expectation they are showing you. Try to find as many examples of those expectations they are showing you, and praise for each one by naming it, and telling them they’re doing a good job.

After, ask them how they did, ask them if it was hard, how I felt, they will probably attempt to tell you what their sibling did wrong, but try to keep it to pointing out everything positive you want to see, and did see.

This will not change things overnight, I am sorry to say; it took a while to get this way and it likely won’t change today. Your kids are very used to doing it the old way.

This will take some reinforcing from you. So at night mention it, mornings mention it, then perhaps every other day, then perhaps every three days. After a few weeks you will have kids behaving in the car, for the most part, because you’ve discussed and reinforced to them what the good car behavior looks like, they will likely continue to get praise for doing it right. Your kids will love feeling like they are pleasing you and hopefully it’s smooth sailing, and great tunes and conversations ahead!

You got this!
I believe in you!
I believe in your kids!

If you are interested in specific strategies you can use for children with social anxiety, self control issues, fighting with siblings, talking back to you or not making an effort in learning, or for more information, please contact me at my website. There you will find videos that will offer you suggestions as well as a few of these articles that you found in this awesome magazine!

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