Stop Think Do

Training behaviour management skills in adults

Role of adults

  • Directly teaching STOP THINK DO to children to improve their peer friendships

  • Facilitating the problem solving process in child-child conflicts

  • Using STOP THINK DO to manage children's misbehaviour in adult-child conflicts as presented in detail in 'Social Savvy'

STOP, look and listen first

  • The hardest step is to stop the old habits

  • Why should adults STOP first when there is a problem with a child?
    Otherwise, you
    • buy into too many things, giving attention for negative behaviour, thus reinforcing it
    • respond implusively and emotionally, providing a poor model of self control
    • react to the child personally with You-messages, rather than to the behaviour
    • talk too much so the child switches off until your voice is raised to assault the ear drums
    • make mistakes by guessing and assuming on the basis of past experience

  • How do you STOP?
    Step back, turn away, go to the toilet, put on earphones, anything to compose yourself

  • Then look and listen, use your eyes and ears first to work out what is actually happening

  • State the problem clearly to the child and express your feelings appropriately
    "I feel.....because (problem)" and/or
    reflect back the child's feelings "You seem to feel....because (problem)"

  • The tone of voice is more important that the words used;
    stay low,slow and robotic, the same for all children and all situations if possible

  • This approach is less threatening and personal, and less likely to make the problem worse

THINK about options and consequences

  • If the child does not adjust behaviour,
    move to THINK about what options could be tried to solve the problem and the likely consequences of these options

  • Be divergent and creative

  • Don't have all the answers; give the child or the group responsibility for thinking as well

Choose the best option to DO

  • Now be convergent and choose the option with the best likely consequences

  • Don't 'pull the carpet out' when children have reached a reasonable decision or consensus themselves

  • If the chosen option doesn't work, go back to STOP and THINK again about what to DO

  • Or offer a choice to the child(ren) of seriously implementing the chosen option or experiencing the consequence of not doing the chosen one appropriately