Wholeness Healing Today

Eliminating Annoying Behaviors

Tattle-tale, tattle-tale. Tattling is one behavior that drives most parents over the edge . . . and your child knows it! The trick is to get kids to stop the behavior without all the yelling and punishment that usually accompanies that.

After attending a conference where the speaker shared his story of creating a report to present to tattlers, our office manager created such a report. In the report, children are required to fill out such things as their personal info, people’s names living in the house, then such things as weather conditions at the time of the incident, clothes the child was wearing, etc. It then requires a detailed narrative of the incident, including a picture. Then there are several questions about the incident and things caused because of the incident. It is a four page report. The idea, of course, is to get kids to focus on what is really important. And most will get very bored filling out the report and decide it is not important. The hope it that the tattler then thinks twice before tattling next time.

Sometimes tattling is necessary, especially if someone is going to get hurt or property will be damaged. But most tattling is unnecessary and time consuming. And if a child is doing the tattling for attention or to get a sibling in trouble, parents can use the Tattletale Incident Report to put a stop to most of the tattling.

As for arguing, I learned while I was teaching that most arguments were for the attention only. So in school or in your home, established an “arguing time”. At home, this is best scheduled at 6:30 am. If the child really gets up to argue, hand him a pencil and paper and have him write out at least three main point to be considered. Then take the paper, tell him you will consider those, and get back to him.

Nancy Thomas, therapeutic parent, recommends in her book When Love is Not Enough, that the parent asks a question back: “What do you think I want you to do?” as the one who asks the questions is the one in control. She recommends repeating the question until the child tires of hearing it and goes away. It effectively halts any arguing.

Whining is another behavior that parents hate and most kids know that early on. Brita St. Clair, in her book 99 Ways to Drive Your Child Insane, recommends that the parents whine louder and longer, throwing a fit if necessary. Nancy Thomas writes that whining usually is a signal that a child is tired, so if he begins whining, he should be sent in for a nap until he is strong enough not to whine.

Many behaviors can be re-directed more effectively if the parent has a plan before the behavior and then quietly and unemotionally addresses the problem. And for many circumstances, making the “problem” more inconvenient for the child than the parent often eliminates the behavior.

If you have a technique that has worked for you in re-directing an annoying behavior, please share with us by submitting to our newsletter so we can in turn share with other parents! If you would like a copy of our Tattletale report email us at receptionist@wholenesshealing.com or ask us for a copy when you are in the office.

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  • Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Advanced Clinical HypnoTherapist

  • Deb England began working part-time for Wholeness Healing Center in September 2004 and began full-time in May 2005. Deb practices primarily in the Broken Bow office and one day a week in the Grand Island office. Previously she had completed her practicum and internship at Morning Star Alliance, working in the Broken Bow and Grand Island offices.


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