We know that lecturing does not help kids learn, but yet we still do it. Today, Drs. Rebecca Hines and Lisa Dieker discuss an article from PsychDadPhD.com titled Lecturing Kids Does Not Help Them Learn. In this episode, they discuss the main points, including change is hard and takes time, change is behavioral and emotional, and finally, lecturing is the anti-motivator. Tune in as they discuss the article and list alternatives to lecturing.
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Lisa Dieker 00:01
Welcome to Practical Access I'm Lisa Dieker.
Rebecca Hines 00:04
And I'm Rebecca Hines.
Lisa Dieker 00:06
And Becky I think you have a fun thing to remind us of I think I'm going to need to take some of your advice today is all I can say.
Rebecca Hines 00:16
Well, I mean having fun is relative Lisa so you know, this is the kind of thing that you and I like to come upon. But today's topic is basically tied back to behavior, but it is, this is a blog post titled "Lecturing Kids Does Not Help Them Learn" and I came across this blog post because I was trying to help a friend of mine who's been texting me saying oh man my five-year-old, I mean my four-year-old, he's going to be five I'm trying to decide about kindergarten and whether he's ready, because I keep getting you know people at the school telling me one thing and another thing, etc, and so, she was telling me how she deals with these minor problem behaviors and timeouts and things like that, and I was telling her about planned ignoring Lisa which you and I talk about all the time, this idea of you know, when something happens you, you say you know I'm not doing that now, and you don't, you don't reinforce the behavior at all, and you turn to something else you know I see you're trying to get my attention when you're ready, I will talk to you, and then you do something else. So we're talking about planned ignoring and all these things, so one of the problems she was having is that over talking both you know by everyone. So when a behavior occurs, especially with a younger child and we just keep lecturing and telling them more and more and more stuff about their behavior sometimes we forget that, first of all, younger children, in particular, they're not abstract thinkers. They don't necessarily even know what you're trying to explain to them, but we all have this desire and it's noted in this blog. We have this desire to impart all of this knowledge on our children and we don't necessarily take into account how they're responding to it, so I was looking around for something simple from a parent perspective, I sent this to my friend, she sent it to her children's father so that they could try to get on the same page with managing behavior together and the bottom line is, as we already know lecturing does not work. And the one principle to state about that is when we over talk when we tie everything to oh I'm really disappointed that you did this, I'm really disappointed about that, and now we're making it all very emotional. And we're really weighing our kids down with all of these feelings tied to what are sometimes really kind of minor things and we're, in fact, making the child hate something more and more and more so if your child comes home from school. And you've gotten a phone call from that he hit somebody on the playground. And now you spend all afternoon talking about it chances are your child doesn't even remember really what happened you're making him feel really bad about himself or herself you're not going to change the behavior because the child, no longer associates that behavior with what's happening right now and you're teaching your child not to love school. So there's a lot to unpack it a really short blog post but it's relevant, I think, to a lot of us Lisa.
Lisa Dieker 03:36
Yeah, you know, and I, as I looked at it, I laughed because you know, again, you and I both have a love of you know, the auditory differences of boys and girls and you know these are over generalizations I'm about to make, but it doesn't matter what gender a child is the mean length of utterance at four is about four and a half words in a sentence. You know, going I don't like that you started to yell at your sister and now you're you know, by the time you're into the fourth word you're like I don't like that they're like that "blah, blah, blah, blah" So I always kind of joke that it's, it's easy to get into the for those of a little more mature the peanuts teacher who was the "wa, wa, wa, wa, wa" lady all day long. And one of the things that I like that she mentioned in the blog is your kid there is no quota for how many mistakes, you can make in life. I'm sorry, you have reached your quota this week, no more mistakes so you know what we know, is the more mistakes kids make as young that are safe mistakes again we got to keep our kids safe that's very different than you know doing something you know dangerous. But the more safe mistakes, they make the better they are at decision-making as adults, and so sometimes lecturing them instead of letting them reflect is my thought you know if they can only do four words "tell me what you did, "how do you think that makes someone feel?" "What more could you or what could you do differently," like those are short phrases, and I know you and I both are really big on coaching kids when they make dumb decisions. Guess what works with spouses with parents with neighbors with friends again lecturing somebody about what they did wrong doesn't make anybody feel better. But using short statement says, let me celebrate and better, yet when their statements about what do you think you could have done differently, then it's turning that into an empowerment statement instead of I'm empowered and telling you what is wrong with you so again that's another thing I, I always think about when I I get into the habit of lecturing once in a while.
Rebecca Hines 05:30
I think it's really hard for any of us to resist as teachers and his parents. So in this blog and it's from psychdadPhD.com and, and I think we have the link, but you know he points out that lecturing is the anti motivator and that it's counterproductive. So every time you're about to lecture Lisa remember that it's, it's counterproductive it actually often has the exact opposite effect, and it makes people stop listening to you. But the alternatives for lecturing that are listed here that I agree with strongly. Set the limit and walk away so that's pretty much the kind of planting ignoring we talked about whether it's at home and you're using some kind of timeout etc, but it's that idea of being consistent implementing, whatever your, whatever your correction is, but some other things you just mentioned a lot of questions that you ask and he says, specifically, the one thing not to ask is why. Because when you ask a child, why they did something they don't know and they're going to say they don't know yeah so you know it's better to tell things as a story, maybe a parallel story about, about yourself that's happened. Talk about the emotions that led to the incident "oh, you know it seems like you were frustrated so X, Y or Z might have happened," "It seems like you're angry that your brother took the toy" whatever it is that's happening, using the right language really matters and you've mentioned in previous podcasts don't expect changes overnight. So whatever it is that we're trying to do we can't expect it to change right away and we're the adults and we're, the ones who have to be 100% consistent so when we try something. We have to remember to curb our own behavior to help try to change children's behavior.
Lisa Dieker 07:41
Yeah and I think, that is, you know when kids are really struggling with something that you really just need to stop don't have a conversation about it just the word stop, no, can't do that anymore. I mean my son had patterns of OCD you know there'd be things like, no we're done with that, that conversation is over and again, not because I was being mean but often that I would try to replace that with something that was of interest to him. You know hey we're not talking about that cat anymore, but there's a great dog across the street, did you see him, you know so that distraction technique, but lecturing about something that is just not going to change it's just better to say no stop hitting is not okay stop. And then you can talk later about a social story and I love that was part of this discussion is having a narrative, a social story. But again, sometimes we just need to stop behaviors quicker, instead of having a long conversation, and I see that a lot no offense to my wonderful elementary teachers, but remember 87% of all teachers in elementary are females and I see that a lot with a little boy who's sleepy or the little boy, and instead of just making very clear parameters, which you and I are very good at, there's this conversation. And the little boy was like look you've got past your four-word utterances I'm now thinking about the truck and the dirt that I'm going to throw next. You know so again what we want to do is stop things that need to be stopped and not have conversations about them, have conversations when we're teaching kids but doing it in short utterances and making them have some choice as we always believe like choice is the biggest word.
Rebecca Hines 09:16
And you mentioned short, a great friend and colleague of mine who's an expert in languages says that we have to put our strong verb first and have a very short command "stop talking," stop hitting." And if we can change some of those really specific and small things I think I think we can see some changes over the summer.
Lisa Dieker 09:42
Yeah and I, you know if you've got another person in your house ask them to watch you. It's a great way to say, can you give me some coaching and you know an older sibling can even help parents who might be at home by themselves and they're working with the younger child so again remember always phone a friend it helps every time. I can't tell you how many times I have called Becky Hines when I was in a struggling moment in life, so what we're glad you could join us today, please feel free to send us any questions you might have on Facebook page or on our Twitter send us a tweet @AccessPractical our Facebook page is Practical Access thanks for joining us.