Engaging Cooperation from Your Child
All children should be well-behaved, pleasant, and obedient. However, if your child is a cochlear implant user, their good behavior is critical to their ultimate success. In this article, you will learn both why it is so important that they be well behaved, as well as the steps you can take as a parent to bring out the best in your child’s behavior.
Why is this so important?
As parents, we all struggle to engage cooperation from our children. A search on the terms “child behavior” results in many different programs that claim to bring out good behavior from your children. But with your hearing impaired child, good behavior is not just a bonus. Your child’s cooperative spirit and pleasant demeanor from the outset is crucial for your child to be successful in their development.
This is true for a number of reasons:
First, let’s face it, your child does have a disability. In order for them to overcome it, they must struggle over many hurdles that other children don’t have to. If they are well behaved, it is a lot easier for them to accomplish the hard work that is necessary for them to be successful.
Second, their good self-esteem is extra important when having to deal with a hearing impairment. When they are well-behaved, they are more likely to have a strong self-esteem from doing what is right. However, if they are always getting into trouble and constantly fighting with parents, siblings, and peers will result in a severe lack of confidence.
Third, your child will be sitting through countless therapy and programming sessions. Their full cooperation is absolutely necessary for these sessions to be productive. In addition, your therapist needs to love your child. Your child’s good behavior allows them to thoroughly enjoy the time spent together. If your child is mean spirited and uncooperative, your therapist will likely not enjoy the sessions, resulting in a tremendous decrease in their productivity.
Fourth, when your child is ultimately mainstreamed into an ordinary classroom, you will be needing extra care and special attention from the child’s teachers and educators. In order to receive this care, the teachers have to be motivated to go the extra mile. Your child’s first-rate behavior is, of course, a superb motivator.
Perri Hecht, a Speech Therapist and Audiologist from New York with many years of experience with cochlear implants and hearing impaired children, puts it this way. “Being a good parent and teaching your hearing impaired child to have good behavior is just as important as good speech therapy for the child’s success. The first thing I tell parents when I meet them for the first time is, ‘Your child must be well-behaved if he/she is to succeed.”
How to Encourage Good Behavior
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of good behavior, what steps can you as a parent do to ensure that your child is well behaved?
According to Perri Hecht, parents should learn as much as they can on the subject, by reading books and taking parenting classes. If the parents are truly serious about the matter, they will invest the time and energy needed in order to learn how to become better parents, which will ultimately bring about the desired results.
There are numerous books on the subject of training your children to be well-behaved. Our recommended list comes from personal experience, as well as having seen countless others like ourselves use these methods and have achieved effective results.
These methods are not necessarily easy, they require a change of mindset and may be a vastly different approach to what you have been used to. But they do work. It is clear after implementing their methods that you will see a tremendous difference in your child’s behavior.
The following books have been around for ages, and they still enjoy much popularity. There are many parenting lessons taught that are based on these methods, and they are highly recommended by many child educators.
How to Talk so Your Child Should Listen & Listen so Your Child Should Talk
Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
The authors promote the concepts taught by the late child psychologist Dr. Chaim Ginot. He believed that a child learns good behavior from having a positive interaction with their parents, and by building their self-esteem. Discipline must be accomplished without threats or punishment, only through “taking action”. The book describes in detail how to handle challenging situations, such as temper-tantrums and whining. This book is a classic, and still has widespread appeal. This book will dramatically change your approach in how you interact with your children.
Thomas W. Phelan
Popular with many parenting groups, this book gives you the “instructions” on how to get your children to cooperate. By giving clear directives and the message that you better have their immediate response, you can achieve greater levels of cooperation from your child.
The important thing to know about parenting is that many of lessons taught are actually common sense. When you hear the material, you may think to yourself that this is really no surprise. Nevertheless, so many parents fail to be good parents just because they don’t implement the common sense that they already know to be true.
To ensure that you apply the skills that you learn, it is important that you attend parenting groups or classes. These groups are structured that the participants are encouraged to apply the methods they have learned, and to come back and report on how it worked. This is a great incentive to actually putting to work the skills that have been acquired, and it is a great motivator. The bulk of learning good parenting skills is learning to change the way you interact with your children, and that needs practice and diligence on your part. By being “forced” to report back to the group, you will get the experience and practice necessary to develop these crucial skills that will improve your child’s behavior.
Finding these parenting classes should not be all that difficult. Look out for notices in Community Bulletins or School PTA notices. Many schools offer them as a service for their parents. In addition, many churches or other religious associations will host parenting classes for their parishioners. If you cannot find one in your area, perhaps you can start one yourself. Why not be the inspiration for others? You can find presenters and course materials by contacting the above mentioned authors offices.
Finally, it would be wise to choose a therapist that is knowledgeable on these matters. Since many tantrums can occur during therapy, it is important that the therapist be prepared to handles these situations, should they occur. Also, the therapist can be a source of encouragement and guidance for you, and gently encourage you to improve your parenting schools so that your child will be one that is well behaved and cooperative.