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Teaching Tips for Parents by Cindy R. Lee, LCSW

Of all the strategies used to correct children, the “redo” is an all-time, outstanding, without a shadow of a doubt, favorite technique. Because it is so simple and straightforward, it’s surprising that parents and teachers haven’t known how to
use it since the dawn of time. Yes, it is THAT GOOD! Thank you Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross for bringing this amazing redo revelation to the forefront. Children across the globe will benefit greatly from a “parenting redo revolution.”

Teaching Appropriate Behavior

The goal for correcting behavior is to change it. We tell our children “don’t do this, don’t do that,” we lecture, we punish, and the entire time we’re using a LOT of words to make our point. We expect these words to bring about major change. It is similar to the hope we often put into the purchase of a self-help book. We buy it, read it (sometimes) and expect a major life transformation. Individuals may gain insight and information from reading the book, but the information does not magically translate into new behaviors and the death of old habits. We apply the information for a day or so, but by Friday, our old ways of functioning win out. What was read we forget and the search for the next self-help book with the “right magic” ensues. There are thousands of self-help and diet books on the market today, and people continue to buy them in search of answers. So why, with so many resources, do so many people fail to make significant change after reading a book? Because we JUST READ the words!

The bottom line is knowledge stays knowledge until we actually DO something with it! Often, we only DO something when we are accountable and have support from others who love us. Without help, we are all talk. Even though we believe what we say, the proof is in our actions. Action is hard because our brains are wired for a specific way of functioning. This wiring began before birth and has been strengthened over time by the experiences of our lives.

So what does this self-help book analogy have to do with correcting kids? When you lecture and discipline the traditional way, you offer verbal knowledge, just like a self-help book. You may get a slight change in behavior for a short period of time, but it won’t last. If you want lasting change, set aside the lectures and get to the business of redoing!

What is a Redo?

A redo is just what it sounds like. A child who does something incorrectly is asked to “redo” it the correct way. Once the correct action is shown, the child is praised. As a result, a positive behavior coupled with a positive response replaces a negative behavior coupled with a punishment.

Let’s say you respectfully ask your daughter to stop playing the video game and go brush her teeth. Her response is a great big “Ugh” accompanied by rolling eyes and a hard tilt of the head. She forcefully throws down the controller and heads to the bathroom, feet stomping the whole way. She may be complying with the request but not at all respectfully. In this case, the parent would ask her to do it again – a redo. We would have her sit in front of the video game while we ask again, “Please get off the video game and go brush your teeth.” Once your child complies with your request WITH RESPECT then you PRAISE her for doing it the right way. Doing the right action will help her succeed and will leave you with a sense of satisfaction for helping your child learn. What a delightful way to discipline. The child learns and the parent is peacefully pleased. Time-outs, grounding and spanking have never been able to deliver that!

Behavior You Can Redo

  • Back talk, whining, interrupting
  • Taking things without asking Name calling
  • Not following directions
  • Poor table manners

Do Redo’s Hold Children Accountable?

Parents sometimes feel like the redo does not hold a child accountable. Not so. Remember, the goal of parenting is not to control a child or use fear to change behavior. If your goal is to control your child, you are fighting a losing battle. Controlling another human is impossible, no matter how young they are. The goal is to connect to your child so they can trust you. Once they trust you, they will TRUST that you have the ability to teach them all they need to know to become authentic. There is no room for fear in trusting relationships. Think about it – do you fear any of the people you are currently in a relationship with? If you answered no to this question, there is a reason for that. If you answered yes, do you also trust that person? Are you connected with that person? Probably not.
Although controlling children is NOT the goal, they do need to know adults are in charge. When you utilize redos, you stay in charge, but not in a “Do as I say because I am bigger than you” way, but in a “Hey you’ve got talent, so let’s learn how to behave so you can reach your potential” sort of way. This method is more about coming along side rather than dominating over.

Having to do something again shows 100 percent accountability and the child learns, “If I make a mistake, my parents will help me do better” as opposed to, “If I make a mistake, bad things will happen.” In fact, if you make the switch from time-outs or consequences to redos, your child will be accepting at first but will likely get tired of having to redo things and conclude that sitting in a chair for a time-out was easier than learning a new skill. BUT, if you stick with it, and they redo the behavior several times, they actually master the skill and the correct response becomes automatic. Yes, really! Imagine the above scenario. When you ask your child to go brush her teeth, she responds with “Ok mommy” and hops right up to get the job done. No counting to three, no threats, and no yelling. It’s all doable with redos!

Teaching the Concept

To teach the redo concept to your child, start by reading The Redo Roo. You can process the book by explaining how Roo was not in trouble when he was playing outside because he could move around freely and talk as loudly as he desired. When he gets to school, he has trouble paying attention, sitting still and staying quiet. His principal and teacher come up with a plan to help Roo behave by having him redo the inappropriate behavior in an appropriate way rather than by punishing him. After you explain the book, ask the following questions about the story to solidify learning:

  • Why did Roo not get into any trouble when he played outside?
  • Why was Roo getting into trouble at school?
  • How did Roo’s teacher help Roo stay out of trouble and solve the problem?

Just like learning any new skill, you and your child have to practice. Practicing in a fun manner when playing with your child will ensure your success when you ask for a redo. You can practice redo’s at home by playing the Redo Role Play.

Redo Role Play

On the back of notecards, write the scenarios you would like to practice. These would be any of the behaviors you are currently struggling with. Place them face down in front of you and your child and have the child draw a card one at a time. Read the card and act out the scenario. One of you would be the child and one of you would be the parent. To ensure smiles, it is really fun to act out the wrong way first and then the right way! Make sure to stay playful and fun, so the child learns.

For more books, games and activities, please visit www.cindyrlee.com. For parenting DVD’s, visit www.child.tcu.edu. Reading The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis, Dr. David Cross and Wendi Lyons Sunshine is a must!

The “redo” concept was derived from the Trust-Based Relational Intervention® resources (Purvis & Cross, 1999-2015.)
Purvis, K.B., Cross, D.R. & Sunshine, W.L. (2007) The Connected Child: Bringing Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family. New York:McGraw-Hill.

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