How to Manage Children and Disobedience

How to Manage Children and Disobedience

So far we have looked at why children disobey and how to get children to listen.

In this part we will focus on how to manage disobedience.

To begin with, you need to always have a logical consequence to back up any instruction that you give.  This simply means that for every instruction you give, you will need to have a consequence that you can go to should your child not do as you have asked, and that consequence needs to be realistic and doable.

So telling your child that Christmas is cancelled or that they are grounded for life is neither logical, doable nor realistic.

Choose a consequence that fits the situation e.g. turn off the TV or remove the activity or toy that is occupying their attention at the time for 5 – 10 minutes.

Once you have told your child what you would like them to do, if he or she doesn’t do as you ask within 5 seconds, you just remain close to them, wait for the 5 seconds to be over (giving them a chance to do as asked) if after this they are still not doing as asked, then you follow this up with your chosen logical consequence.

Do explain to them why you’re doing, e.g. “Lilly, you have not done as I asked so I’m taking the iPad away for 10 mins.”  Don’t get dragged into any debates, discussion and ignore any protest as it doesn’t help whatsoever and can indeed aggravate the situation.  Just go ahead with the consequence.

Once the time is up, return the activity.

This gives your child a chance to practice behaving well.  If your child continues to be disobedient or the behaviour occurs again within the next hour, then you will need to repeat the logical consequence but this time for a much longer period – even for the rest of the day.

Another consequence to go to should your child not do as instructed again and within that same hour, is to take him or her to quiet time or time out.

Quiet Time or Time-Out if the behaviour persists or if your child does not begin to do something that you instructed e.g. start getting ready for bed, then quiet time or time-out maybe more appropriate.

Quiet Time is when you remove your child from the activity that they are engaged in and having them quietly away from the activity and others. Explain to your child that they need to be quiet for 2 minutes before they can return to the activity.  Remember not to get dragged into any debate or discussion and to ignore any protests.

Of course this is much easier said than done, especially if you’re trying the Quiet Time consequence for the very first time!  Be ready to repeat this over and over again.  It really is worth it in the end.

What if my child doesn’t sit quietly during those two minutes and all they do is protest and try and get away?”, I hear you ask. Well, if this happens, then do not hesitate to use the next step/level which is Time-Out.

Time-out involves taking your child away from the situation and to another room or place (as opposed to Quite Time which could be in the same room) that is really terribly boring and uninteresting (so avoid their bedrooms if possible) and having them sit quietly for 2 minutes or 5 minutes maximum for the over 5 years.

If they continue not to sit quietly then they need to remain there until they can do so. Again, be patient if you’re doing this for the first time or even the fifth time. It does work.  Your child will eventually learn that it’s just better to do as asked from the get go.

If you need to check if you’re doing it right, just give me a call.

When they have managed to sit for the required time, they can then return to where they were or start doing what you had asked e.g. get ready for bed.  In this case do tell you child again, what you would like them to do.

If they do do as requested, then don’t forget to praise them for doing as asked.  “Why should I?” I hear you ask again. Because praise goes a long, long way with children. It has been proven, through Triple P and other research, to be more effective than punishment.

If your child does not do as asked within 5 seconds then repeat Quiet Time and Time-Out. Again, be prepared to do this several times.

Just remember both you and your child need time to adjust to any new changes that you may be introducing.  As I usually say to my clients, it didn’t take you 5 minutes to get to where you are so it won’t take 5 minutes to fix the situation.

Patience and persistence.

Any questions or need for clarification, do get in touch – 07850 85 60 66 or

Disobedience – Triple P and How to Get Kids to Listen

How to Get Kids to Listen

Here’s our second part of the Triple P and Disobedience series.  You will find part one on Why are Children Disobedient by clicking here

Struggling with getting your child to do as you ask?

Here are some Triple P Parenting Program tips to help you along the way.  They work but you need to be patient and consistent.   If you find that you are still struggling after putting them into practice for a while, then do contact me, all you may need is a tweak here and there.

Triple P UK - How to get kids to listenThink about your instructions.  Are they clear, direct and realistic i.e. are you asking your child to do something they are developmentally unable to?  What about the timing of your instructions?  Are they given when your child is already engaged in an activity?  Remember not to give too many instructions.

Get close and gain your child’s attention. When you need your child to do something and you have already asked them once before, then stop what you’re doing, go over to them within an arms length, bend down to their eye level, call them by name to gain their attention and then tell them exactly what you would like them to do.

Tell your child exactly what you want them to do and this includes when you want the to stop doing something. For instance, “Tom, stop playing with the ball in doors and go out into the garden'” or “Amina, it’s nearly bedtime. Go and put on your pyjamas please.”

Give your child time to cooperate. When you give your child an instruction, give them around 5 seconds for them to start doing what you have asked.  Stay close and watch him or her.  They are more likely to act with you there than with you in the other room.

Praise you child for cooperating. “Why should I?” some parents have asked.  Because it works.  Praise, direct or otherwise, teaches your child how to behave and it goes a very long way in reinforcing this positive behaviour than punishment ever does. So do say something along the lines, “Naini, thank you for clearing the table straight away when I asked you to.” It makes them feel good and that means that, over time, they are more likely to repeat that behaviour than not.

Let me know how you get on. – 07850 85 60 66


Triple P – Why are Children Disobedient?

Triple P - Why are Children Disobedient?


I have to say that this is the most popular issue that I deal with in my practice.

Disobedience or noncompliance.

So for the next 3 days, we will look at:

  • Why children are disobedient
  • How to teach your child to do as they are told the Triple P way
  • How to manage disobedience the Triple P way

One thing is for certain, children will at some point not do as they are told.  That is just part of their learning, growing and development.

But there are children who are pretty consistent and persistent in not doing as they are asked, to the point where this behaviour begins to affect the energy and atmosphere in and outside the home.

So why are children disobedient?

  • Accidental rewarding.  This is when your child eventually gets what they want after a period of whining and whinging.  They simply learn that to get what they want they need to whine, cry, whinge or throw a temper tantrum.
  • When the only time they get any extra attention from you is when they are do not do as they are told.  So what do you then do?  You stop what you’re doing and turn all your attention to them and try coaxing, yelling, reasoning, discussing, arguing, nagging or repeating instructions over and over again
  • If it gets them out of doing something they do not want to do.  So you ask them several times to do something, they don’t do it, so in exasperation, you end up doing it yourself.
  • When you’re not consistent in the way you deal with noncompliance. One day you allow your child to get away with something and the next you day you expect him or her to follow your instructions.
  • When your requests or instructions are:

Numerous: Every time an instruction is given there is an opportunity for children to be disobedient.  Giving your child too many instructions can lead them to not getting any of them done.

Too few: Have you clearly told or even better showed your child what you would like him/her to do or how to get something done?   For example, a child may have poor table manners because they have not been given enough instructions on how to use a knife and fork.

Too hard: Children may be disobedient or appear disobedient when you give instructions that are beyond their child’s abilities, such as asking a 3-year-old to tidy up a very messy room.

Poorly timed: instructions given when a child is busy doing something, such as watching a favourite television show, are likely to be ignored.

Body Language: such as laughing or smiling while telling children to stop what they are doing.

I’ll leave you with this quote by Haim G Ginott but if you’re struggling with any children behaviour problems  then do get in touch. Triple P slogan says it all – Small Changes, Big Difference. – 07850 85 60 66 (I speak French too!)

Haim G Ginott quotes



Going through Divorce and my Ex is Interrupting my Relationship with my Daughter

Steps to Helping Children Cope with Divorce

We’re going through divorce and my daughter is being given very negative messages by her mother about me so much so that it is beginning to affect my relationship with my child. What can I do?

Ongoing friction and conflict between divorcing and/or separated parents is very common when going through divorce.

Unfortunately what is common too, is the reaction or behaviour of some parents who choose to use their children to get to the other parent probably due to sheer anger, resentment and probably hate too.

If you’re the parent at the receiving end, it’s vital to realise and accept that you can only influence your own parenting style.  You can only change and manage what it going on in your own home.

This may mean that you have to pick up the pieces when your children are put in situations that are not conducive to their wellbeing, and unfortunately, it is what it is.

Your children are likely to be cooperative, happy and well adjusted if they have just one parent who remains consistent from one day to the next.

A parent who is mostly positive in their interactions with their child and is able to give the child a clear sense of what is appropriate and what’s not appropriate.  A parent who has proper boundaries and limits put in place.

During this time, you need to be aiming to reduce children’s exposure to any ongoing acrimony or conflict and avoid taking in the stress that is associated with the divorce and separation into your own parenting lives too much otherwise it will affect how consistent how, how available, how positive you are likely to be with your children.

Of course all this is far, far easier said than done, but it is definitely not impossible.

Look after yourself by reaching out to people who can help and support you during this difficult time. Acknowledge your anxieties and worries and deal with them appropriately, including being ready to see a therapist or counsellor, so that you do not have those negative and powerful emotions trickle or pour into your parenting ways.

If one parent isn’t putting the children first, then all the more reason why they will need you to do that for them. To look after them by being consistent, available and have those boundaries and limits well in place.

If you’re struggling with this aspect of your divorce and/or separation, then do speak with me.  There are ways to work around this using various techniques including Triple P – Positive Parenting Program.

0785-085 60 66

If you know anyone who is going through divorce or separation and is concerned their children, please do share this with them.

Haim Ginott Quotes – Author of Between Parent and Child

If you haven’t yet read Haim G. Ginott’s book Between Parent and Child then I would highly recommend it.

It is a book full of fabulous ideas, skills and tools on communicating with children from the get go.

Some of the content includes:

  • The Power of Words
  • Self-defeating Patterns – There’s no Right Way to Do a Wrong Thing
  • Positive Parenting: A Day in a Child’s life

Who was Haim Ginott?  He was a school teacher, child psychologist, parent educator and psychotherapist.

Here are some Haim Ginott quotes:

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Sharing Birthdays after Divorce

Children of Divorce need both Parents

I overheard a conversation at the school playground this morning which I thought I would share with you.

A boy, whose parents are currently going through divorce (I know this as one of  the parents has talked to me about their situation) was telling another child about his birthday.

He explained that on the day itself, he had half the day with his mother and then went over to his dad’s for the rest of the day and he hated it – the split that is.

He said he wished he would have stayed with one of them on this day and then go to the other’s another day.  He is 9 years old.

Splitting the day in two didn’t work for him and to be honest many children just don’t like changing gears, especially on special occasions.

There’s nothing more difficult than putting your own wishes and desires aside for the sake of the children than when going through divorce.  Both parents obviously wanted to spend the day with their child.  That’s what they wanted and that’s what they got.

That’s not what he wanted but that’s what he got.

If they keep this type of arrangement for the rest of their divorced life, you can imagine how much this boy will not be looking forward to his birthday for a few years to come.

Birthdays are not about you, they really aren’t.  They are about swallowing your pride, your vengeful thoughts, your anger and hurt and making this day, all about your children.

Big deal if you don’t get to spend the day he was born with your child. Celebrate it with her or him when you next see them.  You won’t like it but they will still love it.  They will still enjoy it.

Alternate if you need to – one year you have your child on her birthday, the next the other parent does.

There are so  many options as to how to handle birthdays and holidays and what works for one family might not for another but the easiest way to figure out what to do, is to literally keep your child in mind.  What is it that will make them happy, comfortable and free from conflict and tension?  Now go and do it.

I’m finding it hard to imagine a greater gift.

If you have a system that has worked really well for you and your family, share it with others here.

If your struggling with any aspect of your co-parenting arrangement, let me know – 07850 85 60 66.

What to do when your Child is Hurting

Child is hurting

I cannot tell you how many of my adult friends went through some truly traumatic experiences as children which they never told their parents about until much later, if at all.

Yet one thing almost each one of them has said at some point or other is that they’re surprised their parents never the changes in their behaviour caused by their experience.

Truth be told, all children will experience some sort of distressful experience at some point or other.

Some will see their parents divorce or separate, some will lose a close friend or parent through various circumstances whereas some will be victims of bullying or witnesses to a traumatic event.

Whatever your child goes through, it’s important to acknowledge their feelings and answer their questions.  Children will ask about things they need and want to know and understand.  They seek clarification and explanation to what they don’t get.

As a parent or guardian, when your child is hurting:

  • Are you able to feel what they may be experiencing including their emotional struggles?
  • Do you listen to your child with empathy and compassion?
  • Are you able to verbally acknowledge and validate their feelings of distress to them?

You may wonder why any of this is important to do.

Well, simply put, when you contain your children’s feelings and emotions they develop feelings of security and safety.  They learn how to trust their own feelings as opposed to doubt if what they’re feeling is right or justified and I’m sure you will agree that learning to trust your own feelings is one of the greatest qualities an adult can possess.

Thing is, if and when their feelings of hurt are not acknowledged and taken care off, not only will their ability to recover from this experience be impacted, but so will their development.

Saying things like, “I’m sorry it happened”, “It’s normal and ok to feel sad when things like these happen”, “It’s ok to cry” can go a long way in helping them cope.

Remember, you can say this to infants too.  They may not respond as you would expect but that doesn’t mean they cannot hear you nor the concern and care in the tone of your voice. Talk to them.

Where feelings are persistently left unattended to or recognised, you child may instead learn to do the following as a means of coping:

  • stop or bury their own feelings
  • learn not to trust their own feelings
  • learn to introject or identify with other people’s feeling instead of their own which may in turn mean that the life choices that they end up making are based more on other people’s feelings and wishes as opposed to their own

When your child is hurting, they will show you, probably more than tell you.  Changes in their actions, behaviours and temperament may be more visible indicators that there’s something wrong.  Ask them. Tell them that you have noticed there have been some changes in them.  Bring it out into the open.

They need to know that you know.  They need to know that you are aware and that you care.  Ask them and take care of it for them.

Let me know how I can help –

photo credit: Destiny via photopin (license)

Children of Divorce – It’s about the Children; not just you.


Parents very often state that they will do anything for their children, anything, yet when it comes to divorce and co-parenting, there are many who do the exact opposite.

If you and your ex-partner are struggling with your parenting plan, do contact me by emailing me  Sometimes, all it takes is a tweak here and there to get the co-parenting plan right for your child or children.

There are parents who become so engrossed in their emotions that they fail to see how their actions and reactions are affecting their children. They increase chances of there being negative effects of divorce on their children.

If you’re not sure what I mean, have a read through this post and have a look at this video  on when to be concerned.

Helping children cope with divorce means providing them with a caring environment; one that will allow them to thrive between two homes.

Children of divorce need more than just roofs over their heads, they need attention, love and acknowledgment from their divorced or divorcing parents.

Best Way to Begin Dealing with your Child’s Change in Behaviour

Dealing with Unwanted Behaviour

Knowing what has triggered your child’s change in behaviour is the best way to start dealing with it.  That knowledge gives you some sort of guide as to what needs to be done in order for you and your family to return to the way it used to be.

The trigger could be something obvious or not but either way it’s important to do begin dealing with it.

Start by acknowledging what has happened.  Let you child know that you are aware of how difficult it is for her.  This helps in containing any fear, worries and anxiety he may have and that maybe playing a role in his acting out.

For more just watch the video below – more on my youtube channel

How to Deal with your Child’s Change in Behaviour

Change in behaviour

If you find that your child’s behaviour has recently changed then here’s a question that you may want to ask yourself as a way of finding out what may be causing the change in behaviour.

Has there been a recent occurrence/change in your child’s life?  By this I mean has something triggered your child’s change in behaviour?

Thing is, there are obvious events that can trigger a child’s change in behaviour yet there are others that are less apparent that may play a role in this transformation.  Whatever the trigger, if there’s a change in behaviour then you will need to pick up on it and deal with it.

Some obvious events may include divorce and separation, bereavement, moving home or school and the birth of a sibling.  Less obvious ones may include a statement made by a significant person in your child’s life including, teachers, parents and friends or a friend moving away.

Once you discover what that trigger is then you can act on it.

The first thing to do is to acknowledge the situation, verbally, to your child.  Let him or her know that you understand and are aware that whatever they have experienced is important to them.

Ask them how they feel about it.  This can be a tricky question to ask, especially if your child is very young, but there’s a way that works for almost anyone.  I call it the “I wonder technique” and if you would like more than a yes, no answer then this one’s a good one.

Say for instance your child’s best friend has changed schools, and this is the trigger to the change in behaviour, you could say, “I’m not sure how I would feel if my good friend [name one who’s familiar to your child] moved away. It wouldn’t be fun, that’s for sure. I wonder how you’re feeling now that Tom and his family have moved away.”

You know you’re child best so you will know the best time to bring this up especially in the case of teenagers.  I have found that discussing issues while in the car or over a meal works really well.  So does during our walk to and from school.

If at first you don’t succeed in getting your child to speak, leave it and then try again.

The best thing you can do, as your child moves from one stage of development to the next, is to pay attention to her or his changing environment and “invite” them to talk about it.

Always keep the door to conversation open. Children invited to do so over and over again, are bound to walk through it at some point.

If your child’s behaviour has been changing over time, then you really need to do something about it now as opposed to later…a stitch in time saves nine and all that.

If you’re unsure what has caused the changes in behaviour and are concerned about your child then let’s talk and see how we can remedy the situation.

photo credit: wiccked mjc-2012-06-03-IMG_4573 via photopin (license)