The Bad Behavior I am Ignoring

Why you should ignore bad behavior in kidsThe babysitter was giving the baby a bottle this week. She set it down on the table. The toddler picked it up and chucked it across the room.

Sound familiar?

Afterwards, she asked me for advice on how to handle it--she wanted to know what I would have done.

My advice?

I would have ignored it.

Lazy parenting? Nope.

Ignoring is actually an intervention strategy. A very effective one. Sometimes when our kids do things we don't like, we feel compelled to act in a certain way to discipline them. This is where endless, ineffective Time-Outs come into play.

I ignore bad behavior when it is attention-seeking. The toddler was jealous the baby was getting the attention from the babysitter. Therefore he did something to evoke some of that attention for himself.

Instead he needs to learn appropriate ways to ask for attention, which is something I make a mental note to practice with him more. It's also something that will get better as he grows older and less impulsive. Ignoring attention-seeking behaviors is far more effective than giving Time-Outs.

So feel free to ignore that bad behavior. It might feel like you are "doing nothing"--but you are actually doing everything right.

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Denaye Barahona

Dr. Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She partners with families to tackle the challenges of raising children. Denaye is a minimalist who claims to be a decluttering expert (don't let her near your closet). She loves to travel, talk health-and-wellness, and give unsolicited advice. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The Minimalists, Motherly, Becoming Minimalist, and numerous other media outlets. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Clinical Social Worker with a specialty in child and family practice.