Guiding QuestionsIntegral solutionsPrevention

Children Can Learn Acceptable Behaviour. At Puberty, it is Too Late!

Bullying, vandalism or school shootings: Much of it can be prevented
Bullying, vandalism or school shootings: Much of it can be prevented

Updated March 13, 2018

Children can learn what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. When they reach puberty, it is too late. It took us only 10 evening sessions to learn the techniques. And they work!

Just one Guiding Question for the prevention of unacceptable behaviour, bullying, vandalism, violence, crime and school shootings.

Because of our son’s daily emotional outbursts (ADHD), we gladly accepted the opportunity to participate in a training for difficult-to-handle children. It turned out we used some of the techniques already. Together with a few other parents, we learned further techniques and small but important improvements to those we had already applied. In turn, the daily outbursts reduced to just below the level requiring no medication.

Did you know that punishments such as locking a child in a room for an afternoon are rather ineffective, but a 5- to 10-minute cool-down period in a quiet place can be very effective? Of course, we used this with all our children. For us, the following became crystal clear: Children can learn what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. When they reach puberty, it is too late!

You might have seen the cool-down technique in one of those super-nanny-type TV series; the techniques we learned were pretty much the same as the techniques shown in those series. Watching these series can be helpful. However, to make it work, it was necessary to get above a tipping point (see also Guiding Question 4). Just watching the series would have been insufficient. What enabled us to get beyond the tipping point was the combination of these elements: applying the learned techniques back home, the coaching received on our experiences at home and the experiences of the other parents.

The strange thing is this: While this behavioural training is part of regular treatments, its potential isn’t recognized yet. Although common sense says that this low-effort yet high-impact solution is waiting to be applied, nobody seems to feel responsible. Meanwhile, our solution efforts to unacceptable behaviour,  vandalism, violence, crime and school shootings focus on yet more protection, short-term firefighting and punishment. The sad thing about this is that we know it won’t be sufficient and that society cannot afford its costs any longer.

Today’s situation can be described as follows:

  • At school, we learn for life. That is to say, except the vital techiques on how to raise our children
  • Today, grandparents are far away
  • Nobody has time
  • Society can no longer afford yet more protection, firefighting and punishment efforts
  • Until the 1990s, the case for this prevention possibility would have been this: A no-brainer. Let’s do it!

Guiding Question

For this challenge, I have only one guiding question:

  • Where are the invitations to all young parents to learn the techniques through which their children can learn what is acceptable and what is not acceptable?

Prevention with Complications such as ADHD, Dyslexia and Autism

With ADHD, the techniques worked well to a certain extent. Emotional outbursts still happened daily. Over time, we grew increasingly worried as to what would happen when we were not around to calm our son down. Well, we do not worry anymore. After further techniques of Guiding Question 4 took effect, daily outbursts reduced to one in 10 years. Learning to read happened within six weeks. How this was possible and how this can be utilized for further far-reaching prevention possibilities with the complications of ADHD, dyslexia and autism will be described in a following blog post.