Ministry of Education, Guyana

Reframing Techniques for a Child's Negative Behavior

Reframing is a technique that can be helpful to parents dealing with children who are exhibiting negative behavior. It involves viewing a child's negative actions or thoughts in a different way and helping the child do the same.Reframing is said to be a "simple but powerful tool" that strengthened parent-child relationships. By reframing thoughts from negative to positive, parents can assist their child in improving how he responds to different situations.

Focusing on the Positive

Negative thinking is counter-productive. It can hold a child back from reaching his full potential. It is important for a parent to identify negative thought patterns in order to lead the child toward a more constructive frame of mind. For example, if the child assumes he will struggle with homework, help him focus first on the subjects or academic skills in which he feels comfortable or excels.

Remembering Past Successes

In the midst of a challenge, children can forget past successes and get caught up in the belief that they don't have what it takes to meet the challenge. To help lift their self-esteem, parents can remind children of their accomplishments, which helps prove to them that they are indeed capable of handling challenges. Continuously focusing on positive behavior will lead the child to feel more motivated in the face of a difficult task.

Reframing Parents' View of Child

As important as it is for children to learn how to stay positive, parents must also reframe how they view their child's behavior. When a child struggles with controlling his actions, his good qualities are often overlooked. For example, instead of seeing a child as opinionated, he can be seen as confident. Or instead of viewing a child as hyperactive or trying to drive the parents crazy, he can instead be described as energetic. If the parent is always seeing their child in a negative light, the child will be stuck in the same line of thinking. A more positive label is beneficial for both parent and child.

Resistance to Change

Even if the parents work on helping their child to reframe his thought process, resistance may occur. This resistance to change is a normal part of the process. Parents should not let this possible setback discourage them, but should instead continue to support their child with positive thinking.


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