Here is a quick re-cap of the first seven methods of changing unacceptable behavior by changing the environment:
- Enriching the environment.
- Impoverishing it.
- Simplifying it.
- Restricting it.
- Child-proofing it.
- Substituting one activity for another.
- Preparing the child for changes in her environment.
Now, we have reached the eighth and final method:
Planning Ahead With Other Children
Conflicts can be prevented by thoughtfully arranging the environment of teenagers, too. They also need adequate space for their personal belongings, privacy, opportunity for independent activity. Here are suggestions for "enlarging your area of acceptance" for older children:
- Provide the child with her own alarm clock.
- Provide adequate closet space with numerous hooks.
- Establish a message center in the home.
- Provide a child with her own personal calendar for recording commitments.
- Go over instructions on new appliances together.
- Inform children ahead of time when you expect guests, so that they know when to clean up their rooms.
- Provide a house key on a fun key ring the choose.
- Give allowance monthly, instead of weekly, and agree ahead of time what things a child is not expected to purchase out of her allowance.
- Discuss in advance such complicated matters as the curfew, auto liability insurance, responsibility in case of auto accidents, use of alcohol and drugs, and so on.
- When a teenager is doing her own laundry, make the job easier by having all necessary equipment and supplies readily available.
- Suggest that a child always carry a phone card for an emergency telephone call.
- Tell a child what foods in the refrigerator are earmarked for guests.
- Have a child write out a list of friends and their telephone numbers, in case the child has to be located unexpectedly.
- Give a child advance notice whenever special work needs to be done to prepare for company.
- Encourage a child to work out a personal list and time schedule for things to do to prepare for a family trip.
- Encourage a child to read the morning weather forecast in the paper (or listen on TV or radio) as a guide for what to wear to school.
- Tell a child ahead of time that bathtime and bedtime will be earlier than normal because you need to work at home on a project without interruption.
- Tell children well in advance when you are going out of town so they can make their own plans for activities.
- Teach a child how to take phone messages.
- Always knock before entering a child's room.
- Include children in discussions involving family plans that will affect them.
Most parents can think of many other examples in each of these categories. The more parents use environmental modification, the more enjoyable living with their children can be and the less parents need to confront the kids.
Are there other suggestions for "enlarging your area of acceptance" for your child(ren)? If so, please share with all of us!
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