Ignore It! By Catherine Pearlman

Weekly Trip to the Library

Ignore It!: How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction is one of the best parenting and discipline books I have needed to read in many years. I have been guilty of being pulled into a battle of wills, arguing, negotiation, nagging, and begging with kids of all ages.

In her book Ignore It!: How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction, Catherine Pearlman explains what we do to get children to behave properly can actually makes bad behavior by kids even worse. By over disciplining the behaviors we should ignore, or ignoring behaviors that should be disciplined, we unintentionally make issues worse.

Selective ignoring bad, difficult, or dysfunctional attention seeking behaviors helps minimize or eliminate the unwanted behaviors and increases appropriate behaviors by kids. Selective ignoring can also improve the child’s self esteem.

Selective ignoring is a skill. It’s not a punishment or time out. It’s a form of behavior modification. Actively not engaging isn’t really ignoring, it’s not engaging simply to change annoying behaviors.

Selective ignoring doesn’t mean you tune out to what the child is doing completely. You are still very aware of what the child is doing and why you are choosing to selectively ignore them. Once the child changes the unwanted behavior you immediately reengage with them.

What Should Be Ignored:

Only ignore behavior that is directly produced by your reinforcement. Begging, whining, negotiation, temper tantrums, or anything dramatic or annoying can be ignored. All tantrums should be handled with ignore it.

Teens are especially good at battle of wills that cannot be won by anyone. During any dispute, teens love to have power of wills because it gives them a sense of power. Battles of Will can be decreased by not engaging in such discussions.

What Should Never Be Ignored:

If the behavior isn’t likely to be repeated again because it isn’t based on your reinforcement. If there is no advantage to ignoring the behavior and possibly downsides — don’t ignore it. For example, don’t ignore crying for genuine emotional or physical pain or fear. Also you should never ignore the child’s desire to be left alone. Sneakiness, illegal behaviors, stealing, violence, or abusive towards siblings. Self harming or biting or scratching themselves or others cannot be ignored and professional treatment is required. You should also always provide plenty of positive reinforcement when children perform a very desirable behavior.

How to Selectively Ignore:

1. Observe
2. List of target behaviors
3. Ignore
4. Listen
5. Reengage
6. Repair

1. Figure out triggers of how kids get under your skin. Evaluate how you have been responding and why your reactions have been ineffective. When adults are agitated themselves is when they discipline or give in more often. Observe what behaviors irritate you. Observe when your mood causes misbehavior in the kids.

2. Make list of target behaviors such as whining, kicking the seat, procrastination, bad manners, complaining, throwing toys, and so on.

3. Ignore by not making eye contact, do not talk, turn your back, look busy doing something else, don’t show you are annoyed or make sounds like you are annoyed.

4. Still monitor their actions. You have to know when to reengage. Waiting for the moment they stop bad.

5. Immediately happily and kindly reengage with the child when the whining or tantrum has ended. Do not rehash the reasons why you ignored him or it will start the bad behaviors again. Even if you are annoyed don’t show it. Be enthusiastic even if you have to fake it.

6. If they hurt someone they must apologize. Or cleaning up toys.

Selective ignoring is not asking you to truly ignore the child but rather not engage when they misbehave. It’s essential to re-engage immediately when the undesirable behavior has ceased.

I highly recommend nannies and parents read this book especially if they care for a child that whines, complains, yells, or has temper tantrums frequently.

You can purchase this book in hard cover, paperback, for a kindle, or audible by clicking the links above or below.

Ignore It!: How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction

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