“Never use your dog’s name when correcting behavior,” animal trainers teach (without contradiction). Otherwise, the logic goes, your pet begins to associate his name with negative feelings – with being in trouble. Well, that makes sense. So if we shouldn’t do it with our dogs, why on earth would we do it to our KIDS??
On a recent school observation, I counted over thirty times in which adults used a particular child’s name to get his attention and correct his behavior. Let’s call him, “Ben.” Not surprisingly, Ben ignored most of the hails. Partly, he was distracted as Asperkids are wont to be. And partly, the droning, “Ben? Ben? Ben?” became like a “Beuller, Beuller” background noise that was neither interesting nor worth responding to (as it probably would result in being chided).
A person’s name is like magic to her. It’s personal. It’s powerful. But any power is diluted if it’s overused or misused.
Think of your spouse
If the only time you called his name was when you needed something, how long before he stopped answering the nagging?
Furthermore, corrections shouldn’t be public. Shame is the LEAST effective motivator for positive change. When one child is repeatedly called out in front of peers, it doesn’t take long before other kids will join in the “picking” – and the child in question internalizes the concept of “I’m always wrong anyway. Why bother?”
If you want someone’s attention
(and PLEASE pass this to teachers!!)
- GO TO THE PERSON
- If it’s a child, bend down to his eye level and speak in a quiet tone.
- Use positive words. “I know you can follow the directions, Ben. So show me how you can tidy your spot and get ready for lunch.”
Kids are real people
And like you or me, they don’t want to be corrected loudly, frequently and with exasperation in front their peers!
Treat your Asperkid at LEAST as well as you would your dog! Don’t drone (or worse!) shout her name as a synonym for “Hey! Stop it! Bad!” Use her name for positive statements that are full of confidence, praise and love…it won’t take long for that beautiful child to notice the difference and perk up rather than tune out when she hears you call.