I’d like to introduce you to a few words that I use with the Easy As Pie Parenting Method.
A Motivator is anything that will inspire your child to get up and do something they don’t want to do at the moment.
For today’s technologically advanced children, television and computer time is often a huge Motivator. But for other children, their Motivators may be playing outside or drawing at their desk. Each one of your children may have similar or different Motivators.
How do you find your children’s Motivators? They’re usually the things you take away when they misbehave. In the Easy As Pie Manual, I show you how to complete a long list of your child’s Motivators.
What makes Motivators so powerful is that you will no longer get mad and take these things away from your children. Instead your children will be earning the right to have their Motivators every day.
I explain this in much more detail in Chapter 5, but here’s a quick overview. A Reinforcement is something that happens to help your child learn a behavior.
Many times it is positive—your child gets to do an activity. It can also be the opposite—your child does NOT get to do an activity. This can be an equally powerful reinforcement to change behavior.
The best way to get your child to repeat a behavior is to reinforce it. Let me give you the classic example of a Positive Reinforcement gone bad. A child is whining at the grocery store for a candy bar and the stressed mother is continually saying “no.” But the child persists and the mother can’t take it anymore and gives in, buying her child the candy. She has just reinforced that behavior. The child has learned, “I just need to hold out and keep whining. I’ll get what I want.”
The appropriate teaching moment would be to use the Opposite Reinforcement—the lack of a candy bar. The child will quickly learn that they have to behave differently—whining doesn’t work.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could tell your child something and then never have to repeat it? Or once your child learns a positive behavior, you never have to teach it again?
Yeah, we’ll all keep dreaming—because I haven’t figured that out. But I have figured out the next best thing—a way to make the repetition peaceful and calm!
Since repetition is the first rule of learning, we have to keep repeating things until our children learn them. This is so important when teaching really difficult concepts like Responsibility, Kindness and Honesty.
The Easy As Pie Magnets are a tool to gently teach your children the positive behaviors that you want in your household.
I will explain this in much more detail later, but the process of moving Pie Pieces and labeling behavior is a way for you to “shape” your child’s behavior over time. At first your child may lose several Pie Pieces while you are making a request. With time, your child will lose fewer and fewer Pieces with each request you make. And eventually, you will make a request and your child will cheerfully do it—now that’s respect—and it’s “shaping behavior” in a nutshell.
What About You?
Was there a time you accidentally reinforced a behavior you didn’t want?