Helping You Become All You are Capable of Becoming
Child Management Principles with Young Children 0-5
1. Child Management Principles with Young Children 0-5 Tools for Early Identification and Intervention- 0-5 years By James J. Messina, Ph.D.
Parents, teachers and professionals, involved in early intervention services with children under the age of 5, are in need of a consistent philosophy and technique of child management. The following list is a brief overview of essential principles taken from Pathfinder: Tools for Raising Responsible Children which is offered in its entirety on this site.
Listen to the behaviors of children and not just to what they verbally tell you
Monitor behaviors, activities, and actions of children for the messages contained in them
Recognize that often there is a goal behind children behaving or acting in certain ways
Decipher the hidden messages because the children may be lacking the communications skills to be clear on what they want or need
Recognize that children often learn early that they can placate and manipulate others by telling them exactly what they want to hear from them
Remember that If children feel ignored, unattended, and not listened to; they might act out negatively in order to gain other's attention, even if this attention is negative. They intuitively sense that some attention, even negative, is better than no attention at all
Spend a great deal of time reviewing the behaviors of children in order to derive the hidden messages within them.
Ignore the negative behaviors of children so that they are not being reinforced to continue them
Recognize that by attending to negative behaviors in children there is a good probability that such attention is negatively reinforcing the behaviors to continue
Assist the extinguishing of the negative behaviors by withdrawing from commenting, noting, or calling attention to them
Recognize that toughening it out by ignoring the negative, uncomfortable, and irritating behaviors in children is actually a pathway to assisting them to become problem solvers who must consider the negative consequences of behaviors which do not get any attention (be it positive or negative).
Assist children to recognize what outcomes will naturally occur for behaviors they choose. Once they know what the natural consequences are, then you allow them to make their decision to do or not do the targeted behaviors. If they do the behaviors, then allow the children to experience the natural consequences. They will learn from these experiences the wisdom or lack of wisdom of such choices in the future
Do not allow children to experience a natural consequence, which could be dangerous , life threatening, or inappropriate
Point out a logical or adult decided alternative consequence for the target behavior. The children are then free to choose the target behavior, If they proceed with it, they are then given the logical consequence which had been pointed out earlier
Reinforce limits set for children by use of natural and logical consequences. Once limits are set and the consequences are defined for breaching these limits, the children are free to make their own behavioral choices
Avoid using the terms which would imply that positive natural or logical consequences are rewards for good behaviors
Also avoid the terms that would imply that negative natural or logical consequences are punishments for negative or bad behaviors
Use of natural and logical consequences in a healthy way to free you from becoming a behavioral and disciplinarian watch dog over children
Engage in ongoing dialogue and problem solving with children as to what the consequences are to be if certain behaviors, actions, or activities are chosen.
Be assertive with children, to let them know how you feel when you experience your rights being violated by their behaviors, actions, or activities
Let children know that it is their choice to act in this manner, but it is your choice to feel the way you feel if the children=s behaviors violate your rights
Do not use coercion, intimidation, or threats to let children know what you are requesting
Do not be passive by allowing children to violate your rights by their behaviors without speaking up to let them know how you feel. Chronic passivity encourages children to develop a lack of empathy and concern for the rights, feelings, and sensitivity of others
Do not be aggressive by use coercion, threats, and intimidation to get children to change their behaviors which violate your rights
Do not use aggressive behaviors include: lecturing; demanding; belittling; name calling; blaming; ordering; commanding; directing; preaching; threatening; criticizing; and ridiculing
Avoid chronic use of aggressive behaviors because they create walls of defensiveness in children and damages their ability to have open, honest, and free communication with adults
Use assertive behaviors to lessen the resistance and defensiveness of children
Use statement beginning with: "I feel... (this way) when ... (you do that)."
Do not use statements beginning with: "you do...(this bad deed)" which are statements of blaming, scolding, and condemning
Practice the skill of assertiveness with children to role model for them how to be assertive themselves.
Allow the personalities of children to blossom in their uniqueness and individuality with no constraints or demands that they conform to the "fantasy" or "dream child" which you have in your mind
Establish that it is OK for each child to be different and unique from the other children to help them to believe that they are not "less than" if they do not match or equal the talents, skills and abilities of the others
Give children an experience of personal respect for differences in others by respecting, accepting and overlooking their own personal differences
Instill in children a respect for you, their family members and others
Help children to understand and accept the difference among and between people of different races, creeds, cultures, color, sex, age, body size, handicapping conditions, developmental disabilities, weight, bodily features, etc.
Encourage children to experience the feelings of being leaders of their own lives with a sense of self-direction, self-determination, and self-deserving
Encourage children to be altruistic and willing to share their talents, skills, and resources with others
Encourage children to come up with their own goals, objectives, and procedures to achieve desired outcomes they desire
Encourage children to make an honest assessment of their capabilities, competencies, and talents. With a clarity of who they are and what they are capable of achieving the children are encouraged to pursue activities which will accentuate, complement, and highlight them.
Make adaptations in your relating style for children who have special needs. These include children with
developmental disabilities such as autistic spectrum, pervasive developmental disorder, multi-systems disorder, intellectual deficits, hearing impairments, visual impairments, physically handicapping conditions, epilepsy, autism, specific learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity and distractibility, and other genetic or physiologically based conditions which impair typical development
Another set of children with special needs have childhood chronic illnesses like asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, heart, kidney, liver, or other diseases
A third set of special needs are children who are gifted in intellectual, athletic, musical, or other performance activities
A fourth set of special needs are children who were injured and possibly permanently impaired in an accident or manmade or natural disaster
A fifth set of special needs are children who are survivors of a parent, sibling, or other close family member's death either from accidental or natural causes. This set also includes children who are survivors of a close family member's death by suicide.
Seek out help from professionals in the areas of the childrens special needs in order to learn how to modify and adapt their strategies to address these needs
Recognize that the siblings of children with special needs, have special needs themselves. These children need to be given equal attention and support as that given those with special needs. This insures typical siblings are not neglected or ignored in these families
Recognize that having children with special needs is a challenge to parents and families so provide a great deal of support and assistance to them so that they can better to learn to cope with and handle the stress this entails.