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Observing And Defining Behavior: Instruction Following

November 2, 2009
Times Observer

As a parent it is hard to know what to teach our kids. We’ve talked about behavior and have been learning how to teach our kids various skills. With the beginning of school and the kids back in their routines I thought it would be a good time to talk about our own behaviors. It is important to note that how we act as parents, our behavior, is also important when teaching our kids. We have been teaching our kids that how we act and behave is how we are judged. We need to look at how we act and behave as well. How do we act and behave? If we say one thing to our kids and then do another, our kids will be confused. It is almost like we are saying, “do as I say, not as I do”. So we need to do as we say. If we tell our kids to pick up their toys and yet we leave our things lying around we are not doing as we say. We certainly do not want to set a poor example. We want to set a good example and be a good role model. The best way to do this is to examine our own behaviors. Take for example teaching our child to complete tasks. Do we complete our own tasks in a timely fashion? What about speaking in a calm voice instead of hollering? Do you find yourself raising your voice when telling your child what to do? Do you holler to get things done? Do you follow through when telling your child to do something? For example do you ask your child once or maybe twice and then follow through and make sure your child completes what it is you asked? Or maybe you have to ask your child three or four times and not checking to see if he/she has done what you have asked. These are all areas that you need to look at. If you follow through and say what you do and do what you say, it will help your child to see you as a good role model and will be more likely to learn how to be more responsible. What about your feelings toward your child’s teachers? Are you supportive or do you criticize them? Your child is watching all of your behaviors and responses and if you do not support the teachers your child will not do what the teacher is asking. It gives the child a reason not to do what he/she is told to do. If you do not support the teachers your child will not support them. If you give them support then your child will have no choice but to do as he/she is told. If you dislike the teacher remember that the teacher will be there all year. Teach your child to work along with the teacher the best he/she can.

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words and I agree that what a child sees will be remembered much, much longer than what he/she hears. So you may want to take a look at how you act and behave and make a few changes for you. It is a lot easier to teach someone how to act and behave if we are setting a good example ourselves. Remember, our kids will learn what we teach and will learn how to behave. But keep in mind that they are always learning by others examples. Make sure you are also a good example or role model for your child.

Materials in this article come from my Book, “RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, REWARD, IS YOUR CHARACTER SHOWING”. Other books can be seen at Type in under author, Donna Jean Scanio, to see complete listing of books. For more information you can contact me by e-mail at (under subject type PG Magazine).

Donna Jean Scanio- retired Guidance Counselor/Author.

Material in this article taken from book “Respect, Responsibility, Reward”, “Is your Character Showing.” By Donna Jean Scanio

Please contact her at for permission to use in your publications. For a full listing of books by this author go to or her web page at

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