Creativity expert, professor, father and former day care provider Rustin Wolfe writes a weekly MinnMoms parenting advice column that uses creative punishments to put a positive spin on negative behavior.
Here's one of his creative solutions:
Question: What can I do to encourage my 12-year-old to get her grades up?
Behavior: Poor performance at school.
Problem: Low grades.
Solution: Stay positive.
Activity: I'd discourage you from making her run sprints in a diaper and shaved head. Instead, make schoolwork a positive experience. Ask her about her day when she comes home. My son enjoys "roses and thorns," where he gets to tell us about his favorite and least favorite parts of his day. It gives us a chance to intervene. Actively help her with her homework before letting her loose. Your attention is a hugely powerful form of reinforcement. Act like you like it. If you're not excited, you can't expect her to be. Tell her how proud you are of what she got right instead of focusing on what she got wrong. It's ok to offer negative feedback -- just don't harp on it. Make sure the compliments outnumber any criticism, and celebrate the victories with her.
-- Want Rustin's solution for your child's challenging behavior? Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Read the Naughty Column archive at minnmoms.com/naughtycolumn.