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How do you retreat without your child thinking they've won

How do you retreat to prevent things spiralling downward without your child thinking you have backed down or their behaviour has ‘won’?


A retreat realistically means that your child will 'win' and this is something to avoid in order to have consistent boundaries. The more you can keep to agreed rules and consequences the more likely you are to affect a long term change in behaviour. However, sometimes there are other factors that mean that tackling the issue now is not something you can do
One strategy is to acknowledge the conflict and try reaching a compromise - 'I can see that you are upset as you were really enjoying your game. I will give you an extra ten minutes of play only but then we need to go home' (Children often struggle with time concepts so you may need to give countdown reminders.)
Always avoid making empty threats or giving unenforceable or disproportional consequences. Ultimately these tend to lead to you needing to 'back pedal' on what you've said
One way of reducing the need to retreat is to try to plan ahead when going to be in places and other situations where you may have difficulty dealing with behaviour. Prepare the child with reminders of your expectations and that there will be a consequence if they let you down. The trick here is not to specify what the consequence will be and when and where it will be given. This maximises the options open to you.
For children who struggle with transitions always give a countdown in advance. This helps your child process the transition so they don't get overwhelmed when suddenly confronted with the demand to change.

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You may be interested in the following pages:

Do Doing Done Board

Emotional Regulation

PDA Management

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