Which category you choose (Avoiding, Teaching, Ignoring, or Punishing) to manage a given negative behavior is less important than your consistency and your persistence. Often people say, “I’ve tried everything, and nothing works.” Part of the problem may be that in “trying everything” consistency and persistence were lost.
For example, let’s assume that Suzy Smith said, “I tried to ignore my son’s tantrums, but it didn’t work because he kept up the tantrum until I picked him up/gave him what he wanted.” Suzy needs to recognize that “trying to ignore” is impossible because by definition one either ignore or not! Suzy Smith may go on to say, “I try teaching/re-directing my son’s tantrums by giving him food/ toys/videos/a blanket/pacifier/hugs, and it sometimes works at the moment, but he still has a lot of tantrums.”
Suzy has confused “teaching/re-directing” with “rewarding”! Re-direction involves the use of “Yes-When” Deals before the negative behavior. If you “re-direct” during the negative behavior, you will likely reinforce the negative behavior (inadvertently). If Suzy Smith chooses to use a “punishment” (e.g., “Time-Out”, removal of privileges), but does not utilize the procedure humanely, consistently, powerfully, and with immediacy, it is likely that the efforts to “punish” will fail, leading Suzy to conclude, “I tried to use punishment, but it didn’t work.”
So, when managing your child’s behavior, which category you choose (Avoiding, Teaching, Ignoring, or Punishing) may be less important than your consistency and persistence.