How a Child Changes
Seven Steps to Freedom
Author: Lynne Namka, Ed. D.
How does a child make the decision to make changes in his aggressive behavior? First, someone has to believe in his ability to change. Your belief in the best that is the child is the magical ingredient in helping him see himself differently. Teaching him alternatives to handle conflict will give choices in future situations.
Here are the steps to how a child works through the process of change:
- Recognize his own negative response to a problem. (Own his behavior.)
- Learn about new ways to respond to the problem.
- Make the decision to stop acting in ways that hurt others. (Feel good about making positive choices!)
- Watch himself when conflict comes up again.
- Use Helper Words to choose more healthy responses.
- Practice the new responses. Fine tune them. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
- Reward himself by feeling good and using positive Helper Words.
The process of change has been described as a five stage process by researchers who examined how people overcome destructive and addictive behaviors.
The stages of changes are:
- Pre-contemplation: The young person is unaware or under aware of their problem and does not intend to change.
- Contemplation: The child becomes aware of the problem and gives serious thought about changing his behavior. This is the “Maybe I should” stage.
- Preparation: The child begins to have strong intentions about change for the future.
- Action: The child sets a standard and begins to modify his behavior to overcome his problems.
- Maintenance: The child works keep his behavior to the standard that he has set. Much recognition and reinforcement will be needed as the child struggles to maintain his gains in positive behavior. Behavior change will continue only if the environment encourages and supports the child’s efforts.
What You Can Do To Help Children Change
Continue your efforts to teach peace by showing children the best that is in them. Positive correction techniques that teach social skills and emphasize good self esteem are your ace in the hole in helping children change their negative behavior.
The mark of distinction of a master teacher is helping children believe in themselves and see themselves in positive ways. Add your own imagination and creativity to use these positive correction techniques. The Teacher Cues and Helper Words given will show your children how to get along with each other and build peace in our world. Your belief in a child’s ability to change is the most important factor!
Prochaska, J., DiClemente, C. Norcross, J. (1992) In search of how people change. American Psychologist, 47, 1102-1114.