Explain New Rules Before You Start

One of the ways to change patterns of behavior in children is what we call a Parent/Child Evaluation Meeting. Parents can call this meeting when they see unwanted patterns and are about to focus on change.

The purpose of the meeting is to explain to the child how things are going to be different and ways that parents are now going to change their behavior to address some critical issues in the child. Here are some things that make Parent/Child Evaluation Meetings successful.

1) Announce in advance that you (both parents if possible) will have a meeting alone with your child. “John, Mom and I are going to have a meeting with you after dinner this evening.” The anticipation raises the felt level of importance to the meeting. Making this announcement in advance with teens and even giving a preview of the topic is also an honoring thing for parents to do since it allows everyone to come to the meeting prepared.

2) Meet with each child alone. You may want to do this with all of your children, but do it with them one at a time. Children have a way of hiding behind each other or defusing the importance of the meeting when others are present.

3) At the meeting share at least three things that the child is doing well or that you’ve appreciated lately. Share positive character qualities you see developing. “I like how responsible you’ve been with the dog lately. You’re doing a good job. I also like how diligently you do your homework. It’s been fun to watch you grow this year. I’ve also noticed your kindness with the baby, playing with her when she’s fussy. You’re growing up.”

4) Then share one concern you have which will hinder your child’s success if not addressed. “I have one concern I’d like to share with you...” Prepare what you will say in advance to give your child a vision for change by explaining why the change will be helpful. Always give specific suggestions for appropriate behavior. Ask the child to work on changing and agree to get back together the next day or in a few days to talk again.

Sometimes making observations in this formal way is enough to motivate children to think about their actions and make changes. More often than not, however, you’ll need to gently point out the dishonoring behavior when you see it, in order to help your child recognize it. Consequences may also be needed. The meeting actually helps children understand the new rules of play so they're not surprised by the changes.

How have you been able to help get kids to want to change?

Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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  1. Parent/Child Evaluations are important in single parent families also. It's great if both parents cooperate and meet with the child but if not, then as a single parent, you can do this alone. You can't control what goes on at the other parent's home but you can be in control of what happens in your home.

    Follow the guidelines for the two-parent family evaluation. If your single parent family is just getting established this will help you set some great ground rules. If your single parent family has bee coasting along for years, a Parent/Child Evaluation will allow you to fine tune your family.

    You will be surprised at how intimate you and your kids become. This is especially true if you have teens in your home. If your kids complain that at the other parent's home they don't have to have these meetings, don't be daunted. Continue the meeting and explain that in your home this is how things are going to be.

    While it might not seem like it at the time in the long run your children will appreciate knowing what you see as their strengths. They too will be motivated to make changes to accommodate the new rules. Remember your children are trying to please two parents in two different homes. It can be confusing when they are not sure exactly what you expect and what you will accept.

  2. I really like the idea of the Parent/Child evaluations. From what age do you see them as being effective?

  3. I would suggest they become a regular part of your relating with your child sometime during the preschool years. It's simply a formal time for praise and discussion about the way you're relating and it's a good time to talk about how we'd like to make some changes in the patterns of relating. --Scott Turansky