In this episode, I’m sharing an audio of me coaching a mom in the Mastermind whose 17month old was starting to display aggression towards her. I role play in this clip how to focus on the skill-building rather than the mistake or misbehavior. Remember, what we focus on grows. We want to uncover the root of the behavior to effectively teach new skills rather than putting the emphasis on the problem and accidentally reinforcing the negative behavior. Enjoy!
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Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.
She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.
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You’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode 86,
My name’s Randi Rubenstein and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast where we believe when your thoughts gro the conversations in your home flub.
So, hi guys, how are you this week? Hope you are doing well. The title, I think the title of this episode is three Tips to Improve Behavior since lecturing, punishing and yelling doesn’t seem to be working. And Andy, what made me think about this as I was leaving a Vox, which is that audio texting app that I use in my private groups. And when I was leaving a Vox for a mom who is Mastermind, mom has been in it for a while. And she was like, she left me a message. And she basically said like, I need a refresher because baby number three.
0 (1m 1s):
And I haven’t had a baby in a while who is now 17 months old. He, he got upset about something, any, like when he gets upset, he’ll like smack me in the face, like remind me of what I’m supposed to do again. And so we had a little refresher and, and it made me think that maybe you guys would find that little clip helpful. So, so, you know, she was just, she was like, okay, what am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to say it again? And I kind of walk her through a how to see it and how to kind of understand it. And most importantly, I think the, the big take away for her was when we look at these, situation’s quite often like, Oh my gosh, I can’t believe we were already here.
0 (1m 49s):
What happened in my little innocent baby? So delicious. And now all of a sudden he was becoming this toddler and he was like smacking me in the face when I tried to grab a tooth with a toothbrush away from them. But he’s like, I’m trying to run around the house with a toothbrush. He was going to poke his eyeball out. How did I get here? Oh, I’m not ready for this. And I forgot about this stage. And so we think about that. And, and what I said to her was, you know, this is an opportunity to skill build with him to not just grab the toothbrush away necessarily. And I said this, I don’t think in the box or a clip that I left for your guys’. I say exactly this. But I said this in a later Voxer was, was we miss the opportunity.
0 (2m 34s):
So often to look at a situation and just meet at where it is and, and teach our kids the things to help them improve future behavior. So she’s looking at him being, it’s a dangerous situation and she grabs the toothbrush away and he gets frustrated and he smacks her in the face. But really what the opportunity is, is for this little, tiny 17 month old to learn the feeling of when he’s frustrated and he has this big emotion that he can do something other than hit. And, and so when we just grab it away over and over again, we’re missing that opportunity to actually build new skills, which in this situation would be being able to manage a feeling of frustration rather than just hitting.
0 (3m 32s):
And so there is a way to do it. And what I said was, you know, you got to work on there’s three things really that why broke it down for you guys here, there’s really three things to focus on. When you want to see a situation that appears problematic as an opportunity to actually teach your children something that’s going to help them to improve future behavior and improve their life in some way. Like, isn’t it nice as if that 17 month old, you learned how to deal with feelings of frustration and, and have learned impulse control when somebody took something away from you or, or you felt super frustrated what you could do.
0 (4m 13s):
And instead of smack someone or get aggressive, which as you get older, a lot of times turns into, you know, blasting someone verbally blaming M all these lovely behaviors that we do to cope with the feeling of frustration. What if we could start teaching our 17 month olds, how to deal with the Behavior underneath the heading, and really help them develop these, these amazing skills to be able to feel all the emotions in your life. Like you don’t have to be scared of the emotion of frustration or anger or disappointment, because we were able to handle all the things ’cause. We were trained on it from the time we were a little bitty.
0 (4m 55s):
You all see how impactful that is. And so what I said to the mom is really, you got to do you first that’s step one, right? You do you first. So baby’s running around with, with the toothbrush and you’re just thinking you want them to be safe. So you grab it away from him. He gets frustrated. He smacks you. And she was like, well, what do I do in that moment? I’m like, first and foremost, when anyone smacks you in the face, you say owl, and you get yourself to safety. Or if that means that he’s all violent and physical, you put him in his crib and you get yourself to safety. You take some deep breaths, you walk, you’d get a little something, you know, you’re thrown off, put him somewhere where he’s contained so that you can take care of you.
0 (5m 43s):
Don’t hit put him before you, in this moment, you were the victim. You just got hit. So you go, do you, you take care of yourself. You calm yourself down first and foremost. So with draw your attention from him, but not from manipulative place, from a place of you deserve to go and take care of yourself. When you just got smacked in the face, right? Like that’s called having self compassion and respect for yourself and going and taking care of you. So focused on you first and making sure you’re okay. I said, secondly, you also remember when you do that, when you just put him aside and you go you’re out and you go and focus on yourself, you’re also not accidentally creating that pattern.
0 (6m 32s):
Have little kids don’t care. If it’s positive or negative attention, all attention is attention from mom. So if at 17 months old, they start to learn that when they get physical and aggressive, mom, you know, drops everything and focuses fully on them. You accidentally support and reinforce that negative attention seeking behavior. Now the child wasn’t trying to seek any negative attention, but Hey, when they smack you and you, all of a sudden, mam, the star of the show is a hundred percent focused on them. They’re going to do more of that smacking Behavior and hurting you. Behavior ’cause it has worked in the past to get your undivided attention. So you accidentally reinforce the pattern that you’re trying to get rid of because you are super focused and Tonya.
0 (7m 16s):
And so when you put them aside and go take care of you first and foremost, you not only AE put that you’re a person that’s, that’s worthy of being taken care of first there and put on your own oxygen mask. You also don’t accidentally reinforce that negative attention, seeking pattern by giving them all this attention for that. So first you do You and you don’t reinforce that negative attention accidentally. Second, we gotta get to the root. We gotta get to the root of, of when he smacked what was going on.
0 (7m 60s):
And, and that’s where we want to begin by naming the feeling, rather than the misbehavior in this moment. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to get to later. We’re going to not get to hitting hurts. Hitting is not okay. This family is loving you. No, we’re not. We’re going to get to that place of standing up for what we stand for and spelling it out. But right now you do, you get yourself to safety. You don’t reinforce the negative attention. Number two, get to the root name, the feeling rather than the misbehavior, you know, after you come back after your okay and whatever, and you go in and pick them up and you say you were so frustrated, you were so mad.
0 (8m 46s):
You wanted mommy to know you wanted the toothbrush. You were so upset. You were so mad, you were frustrated. And you wanted Mami to know. So you’re naming the feeling. Am I getting that? It says, is that true? Is that right? You want to them, you know, you’re mad. You wanted the toothbrush, you loved the toothbrush. You were mad that mommy took the toothbrush away. So you’re just naming what was going on. What was underneath the hitting Behavior rather than just saying no hitting, you hit mommy that hurts. No hitting, no hitting what we focus on grows. If you talk about the hitting and hitting the hitting, you’re just going to get more hitting. And you’re giving a lot of negative attention to that. We want to get to underneath what’s underneath the heading.
0 (9m 27s):
And then the third thing is we’re going to focus on the skill building because what we focus on grows. So when we name the feeling, and if you, if you have a child calming down and they are like, and you’re like, you wanted the toothbrush, you loved the toothbrush. And they’re, you know, saying yes, yes, yes. And you’re going to say, so say, mommy, I love the toothbrush. I want the toothbrush. And now you’ve got a 17 month old. They don’t have the language. It’s okay. They’re understanding so much say I want the toothbrush. I don’t want it to the question. And then we can talk about the safe ways that you can use the toothbrush. The toothbrush happens in the bathroom, where do we brush our teeth?
0 (10m 10s):
That’s right in the bathroom. So you want to the toothbrush, let’s go, we’ll sit on the sink. You want to brush your teeth? Let’s go do it. So now we’re, skill-building by showing him exactly where he uses the toothbrush, how he uses the toothbrush safely. And we go, and we do that. Now, all of a sudden, you’ve got a 17 month old who fully understands. Toothbrushes are not for running their first, sitting at the sink in the bathroom and brushing your teeth. That’s what the toothbrushes is used for. Right? We focus, we skill. We were doing the skill building. That’s where we put our energy. That’s what we highlighted. So I want y’all to think about that when you are accidentally reinforcing and focusing on all the negative behaviors and then continue to get more and more and more and more of that, there is a reason, and there is a way to disrupt that.
0 (11m 5s):
And so that’s what I’ve got for you guys this week. I hope you find that helpful. Have a good one.
2 (11m 12s):
Yeah. And Remember so when you go back to them, you’re going to be like this. He’ll probably start screaming and crying. When you like put ’em down and walkway. Or if you put ’em in this crib and walk away, you know, when you hit your, whatever, it just like out and you just quickly put them down. It’s just the way, you know, you would, it’s like you have boundaries kind of thing. Like you like maybe take your breath away. Like You, you’re not gonna, you got to take care of you before you address him too. That’s kind of what your, what your modeling is. The world doesn’t revolve around you. Like, you’re just freaking smack me in the face, you know? So we don’t even have to say anything. It’s like your actions speak louder than words.
2 (11m 53s):
So you in it, it’s like, it’s like you would do for any little it’s it. It’s going to the victim first. Basically. You’re just the victim. And so when you go back to him and he’s screaming and he’s crying or whatever, and you say, you say you were really mad and you wanted mommy to know, you are really frustrated. You wanted Mami to know, and it was going to look at you and you’re going to like take a breath. And, and, and you’re going to say, you’re going to say calm, you know, become and make your voice like mine. I can understand you. I can help you tell mommy, why are you were so mad? Tell mommy why you were so frustrated.
2 (12m 33s):
You were so mad. And if you know your, like, you’re so mad, its the state the obvious, if you wanted the blah, blah, blah, blah, you get so mad. You want it Mama to know. And so you hit me cause you want me to know? So that’s the positive intent, which was basically saying you were so mad that we forgot the words to ask. You were so mad that you want a mommy didn’t know. So you’re going to the root of the behavior when you come back to them, right. Rather than talking about the hitting, you were so mad and you want me to know and, and you didn’t and you forgot the word. So you hit mommy.
2 (13m 14s):
You want me to know you were so mad and he’s going to, you know it and say, okay, tell mommy. I was so mad. I wanted such and such. I wanted that. Did you want that? Look at me. Is that what you want it is that what you want to do? So you’re, you’re making him feel understood and getting to the root of the frustration and you’re modeling the thing that he was so mad about. You’re you know your modeling word’s to say, even though he can’t say the word and yet you’re modeling that and so get to the root of it. So next time you want something, what do you say?
2 (13m 56s):
And right now, you know, it will be when he knows and understands so much and he doesn’t have the language, it’s like, imagine that you had a stroke and you realized, you know, somebody was in your room and you needed them to help you. And you were mobilized and you know, and it was, we needed them to help me with something and they couldn’t understand, they couldn’t adjust it. The stand is your mouth. Wasn’t working. Like you might like to get pissed and throw something across the room because you’re like, give me the fucking thing. ’cause you are so frustrated because you know it in your head, but you can’t express it. So that’s what’s going on for him on its head. So that’s why we really want to get to the root of why he smacked you in the face, you know?
2 (14m 44s):
And so you addressed that and you, and you helped him to feel understood and you and you, and once he feels understood, once you see his perspective and you say, you say, you understand, do you understand? And then actively listen by just basically through expression. You’re looking at him, he’s looking at you, he’s nodding his head. You’re giving him hugs. He’s calm himself down. You calm yourself down. That’s so hard to do. You’re so frustrated. You were so frustrated. Come here, give me a hug, give me a hug. Yes, that’s right. And then you go back to it and you’re like, Oh, so when you want it, a mommy doesn’t understand it. Cause sometimes mommy is, ears are clogged.
2 (15m 25s):
I don’t hear her. I didn’t understand. Yeah. You just blame it on yourself. And you say, and you and you breathe and you say, mommy, mommy, and you point and you show me, you take me there. You can take my hand and you can take me there. Take me there. Now show me what it is you want. Let’s do it. Let’s practice. And so you’d just go through. So now he’s like really taking the time to help him. You’ve let him know. It matters to me. When you’re frustrated, I’m here to help show me where it is and you’ve modeled all that. And you know, and you said you wanted me to know how frustrated you were and you didn’t know how to tell me.
2 (16m 9s):
So You so you hit me. ’cause you want me to know it hurt mommy. Hitting’s never. Okay. So show me next time. Show me, can you show me, show me that practice and you know, and so now you’re kind of, he’s, he’s getting your attention by practicing how to do it better. Next time we’ve taken the time rather than taking the time to lecture and admonish. You focus on the heading and the heading and the heading. We’ve taken the time to focus on that. We’re here to help them with the frustration. We’re here to spend our time skill building on what to do.
2 (16m 50s):
Next time you are angry or frustrated your mommy’s, the ears are clogged and I can’t understand or hear you. Yeah. So we focused on growing and now we’re focusing on the skill building. So you have,
1 (17m 7s):
Hey guys, if you want to close the gap between the parent that you currently are, when the kids are pushing your buttons and the parents that you always intended to be that calm, cool and collected parent, no matter what’s going on around you. I have my recipe for you. I wrote about it in my book, the parent gap. And I’d love to give you a free audio version. Oh, you have to do is text the number for four to two to four, four, two to two, and push the message in Mastermind Parenting Podcast all one word, all caps. Mastermind Parenting to For for two to two, and we will send you over a free copy of my audio book, the parent gap ASAP.