Notice The Good Behavior
I picked up Norah and Aspen from school last week to take them both to the orthodontist. Our kids attend a small rural charter school, where the elementary school and the junior high are on the same campus. Both girls were in aftercare, and as I came in, I saw this.
Norah sitting next to her younger sister, helping her with homework. In fact, as I came in, I stood, arms open, my body saying, “daddies here to pick you up.” But Norah, bless her heart, wasn’t having it. She put up her hand in an almost protective maternal way, and said “not right now dad. I’m explaining a problem.”
And Aspen, who, for the most part follows her sisters every step gave me a crusty, I’m on Norah’s team, don’t bother us, look. So I put my arms down, and watched. Norah sat and explained how a square root is calculated, and Aspen sat quietly, kids playing all around them, listening as if it were gospel because it came from her older sister.
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I couldn’t help but think of a statistic I read recently. It was that parents are more than twice as likely to give children attention for negative behavior as opposed to good behavior, and this is why some children act out. Because all their good behavior is goes unnoticed, and the bad behavior gets all the attention.
And let me be perfectly honest, what was happening in that aftercare room was absolutely the kind of awesome behavior I wanted to encourage.
So once Norah and Aspen finished their problem, I sat down at the table and said “Norah, thank you for helping your sister with her homework. And Aspen, thank you for allowing your sister to help you.”
They both looked at me, and gave the warmest grins, and naturally, they asked an all too important question, “does this mean we get ice cream after the orthodontist.”
Honestly, I didn’t even hesitate.
“Absolutely,” I said.
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