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How to get control of your kids: Teacher's secrets.

Updated on February 9, 2011

The Squeaky Wheel

"I want ice cream", came the scream from the booth next to ours, followed by low embarrassed murmuring from the woman sitting with the spawn. It was the umpteenth time I had heard that refrain and I was getting a little buggy eyed.

"I want ice cream!" This time it reached frequencies that shatter crystal goblets. I half rose.

"I'll give it some damn ice cream", I muttered grabbing the largest spoon I could find.

"Now honey sit down", my wife soothed as she stroked the bulging veins in my arm. As I sank back down, I caught a glimpse of the woman. She had a haunted, defeated look and with what appeared to be an apologetic glance my way she whispered something to the spawn and it quieted down. Soon the waiter was summoned and ice cream was delivered to the kid.

The Kid's Point of View

As peace returned to our dinner—except for the occasional outburst followed by some form of flying food—I asked my wife why I, as a teacher, could control


She told me to look at it

from the kid's point of view.


kids in my classroom and yet those same kids once they got home turned instantly into little hellions. She told me to look at it from the kid's point of view.

Hmmm?—I want ice cream and I know mama has said no, but if I scream and carry on long enough I will get it anyway.

What an epiphany! Far from being a spoiled little well child. This creature knew how to get what it wanted, and was smart enough to exploit it. This kid had a stronger will than the adult that was suppose to be in charge.

It reminded me of an incident that occurred years ago in a large department store. There was a young boy riding on one of the rocking horses on display and beside him was a young distraught set of parents pleading with the child to get off the horsey and come with them. The child refused, obviously enjoying his ride and not about to be interrupted by his parents timid attempts to encourage him along the straight and narrow. They begged, cajoled, pleaded, mildly threatened—obviously the child was on to that ruse—and even tried trickery, pretending to walk away, but the boy knew better. He had the upper hand.

Finally one of the sales persons asked the distraught couple if they would like him to summons the store psychologist—who knew big department stores had psychologists. In desperation the couple agreed.

Soon an older gentleman appeared on the scene an introduced himself as the psychologist retained by the department store. He asked the parents if they minded if he spoke to the child. The readily agreed. The gentleman went over to the child an knelt on one knee and gently whispered something into the child's ear. Instantly the boy stopped rocking, quietly slid to the floor and hurried over to his parents. What a miracle!

Later when the store psychologist was asked what the miracle words he uttered to the child were, he smiled and said, "I simply told him that if he didn't get off the horse and go to his parents right now, I'd break every bone in his body."

Johnny's good at school so why not at home?

As a teacher, I have seen it time and time again. Parents drop off there little hell-on-wheels for the first day of school with great fear and trepidation only to be shocked at how well behaved their little monster has become.


Little Johnny will not get from the teacher what he

can get from his parents by throwing temper tantrums ...


Of course this does not always happen because there are a lot of variables, but barring a bad teacher, sever personality disorders and kids suffering psychological trauma, most kids behave differently in the environs of the classroom than they do at home.

The reason is simple: Little Johnny will not get from the teacher what he can get from his parents by throwing temper tantrums and he is smart enough to learn this very quickly—about as quickly as he learned to manipulate his parents for the things he wanted, or to avoid things he didn't want to do. The bottom line is consistency. As it turns out childern are really quite smart when it comes to getting their way.

Some Basics

First of all, as a teacher, you understand that kids will not eat Brussels sprouts twice because they know after the first taste that they can not whine, cajole or throw a big enough temper tantrum to make that ugly little vegetable taste like ice cream. This principle can be generalized to shed light on the behavioral workings of most kids. If something consistently gives them negative results they will avoid it at all costs—except for the two-year-old who will refuse to eat perfectly good brussel sprouts even when threatened with annihilation, yet given the opportunity will open the cabinet under the sink and drink a half gallon of bleach from a filthy bottle. What's with that?

Kids understand consistancy and they, as with all creatures, tend to move from pain toward pleasure. With this in mind, gaining control of your children starts with finding their currency. What is it they love to do, eat, or possess?


One simple way to begin is to make a list of what your child loves to do with his or her spare time, such as watch TV, play outside, swim, eat Ice Cream etc. List the things they already love doing and do on a regular basis. From this list create a chart and assign point values to each activity. I would use some type of removable markers such as fridge magnets to mark the points beside each activity.

Next I would sit with my child and go over my expectations for their behaviour. Do not make to many expectations for younger children. 5 to 6 rules should be sufficient. Pick the ones that are the top priority for you and will bring the greatest peace to your household. Then explain to your child that this is the list of all of their privileges and that the points they have beside each activity allows them to do that activity. Let them know that each time they violate one of the household rules they will forfeit a marker and if there are no markers beside that activity they will not be allowed to participate.

For example TV watching might have two, lets say, stars for markers by it. Once little Johnny throws the ball in the house you tell him that that just cost him a marker and you go to the chart and remove the marker. When he does it again remove another marker. When it comes time for Johnny's TV shows go with him to the fridge and check the chart.

"Oh no, no TV not enough markers." Johnny may try every trick he has up his sleeve to get what he wants , but you must stand like a rock, or the whole thing will be for nothing.

For some good ideas on how to use charts and some free printable charts, click here.

Do Not Struggle For Power

Do not enter into a power struggle with your children, they are far more ruthless and uninhibited than you, and therefore will probably win. Do not deal with your children when you are upset. Always go calmly to the chart and remove markers for the behaviors you have discussed with your children when they break one of the rules. Do not ever remove markers because you are angry, or for some behavior you have not discussed with your child.

The secret is in your child knowing what to expect and that expectation always being met with consistency. I have included a lot of links for further explorations of this subject. Leave comments if you have questions.


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thanks alot


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