Parenting Myth 4 – Behavioural Issues in children – “I know you can do it because you’ve done it before!”

How often have you said, or at the very least thought, that because your child has done something once or twice, that he should be able to continue doing it.

Your child may have been able to put on her shoes all by herself yesterday and the day before, but today she seems to be struggling, is unable to do it or just doesn’t want to cooperate.

Well, think about it, for anyone, including adults, to be able to do something consistently and properly, some training is involved, not for one or two days but over a long period of time.

Training your child to be able to achieve a goal is different from teaching him how to do something correctly.

In the latter case, you will spend time and days teaching her how perform a certain action independently of you.  

Once she achieves this goal, you need to then gradually move onto the next level of showing her how to continue doing whatever the action is over and over again without your assistance. 

She will manage at times and others not so much and that’s ok. It’s all part of the learning process and a journey towards including it in her repertoire or collection of achievements.

How do you get the intended behaviour or action to become more frequent and eventually established into her way of life?

Not by punishing or berating him and demanding to know why he cannot do it as well as yesterday.  That won’t get you very far.

To deal with these behavioural issues in children, try the following instead:

  • focus on the moments or times that your child manages to behave in the way that you would like him to or when she manages to carry out an action on her own as she has done before.  When you see this behaviour or action manifest, mention it and praise them; be precise about what it is that you are praising him/her for and say it like you mean it.


  • What is “positive reinforcement”? This is when you provide your child with ample opportunities to perform the behaviour or action you would like him to learn and become as proficient as possible in. 

So, for the next few days or weeks, ensure that he has several chances to put the behaviour into practice, and each time he manages, you reward him.

Repetition is key.

Pick one behaviour at a time, not two or three.  This helps you and her focus.  Keep the rewards small and non-expensive.  Think of the little things that your child enjoys and use those to reward him.  Is it an extra story at bedtime or an extra trip to the playground?

Behaviour charts are really good for this but you need to do it properly for it to work.  Trust me, they do work.  Let me know if you need help creating one and we can work on it together.  Not carried out properly, it won’t work and you and your child may just end up truly frustrated.

Don’t forget to read the other 4 Parent Traps to help you deal behavioural issues in children.

Need any clarification?  Do give me a call 07850 85 60 66 or email me


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