Have you had a child tell you “No” or simply ignore what you asked them to do?  Haven’t we all!

I’ve got a technique for you that I learned as a trainer for Crisis Prevention Intervention.  It’s called  2+2.  Here’s how it works.

When a child tells you “no”, you give them a choice and a consequence, a choice and a consequence.  Make sure you present the positive one first.  For example, let’s say you asked your elementary age daughter to put her toys away and she tells you “no”.  You can say the following:  “Put your toys away and we can start the movie.  Don’t put your toys away and we won’t be able to start the movie.”

Why do you want to present the positive choice and consequence first?  Because the positive one helps the child to think in terms of what good things will happen if they make the right decision.  You are looking for compliance, not a power struggle!

Let’s look at an example for the school environment.  If a student refuses to finish their work, you can say the following:  “Finish your work and get your points for the day. Don’t finish your work and you won’t get your points.”

This strategy helps to take the emotion out of dealing with a child who is noncompliant.  It’s a wonderful way to set limits and stay in control at the same time.  You put the responsibility back on to the child (or adult!)  You simply let them know what the limit is as far as what you will do, and the rest is their decision.

I recently had a situation with a staff member who needed to complete some paperwork to be certified after a training he attended.  He agreed to contact me to set up a time to finish the certification.  A few days went by with no contact.  I tried to e-mail him with no response.  My secretary left a voice mail and e-mailed him as well again with no response. My paperwork was being held up at this point for over 3 weeks because of this person’s noncompliance with my request.  So I decided to do a 2+2 on him.  I sent an e-mail that simply said the following:

“When you left the training I requested that you set up a time with me to complete the certification paperwork.  I have been trying to contact you for the past three weeks.  I sent you an e-mail last week with no response.  My secretary sent you both an e-mail and a voice mail with no response.

I need you to contact me by the end of the day to set up a time to complete this paperwork so that your certification will be complete.  If you do not contact me by the end of today, I will have to contact your administrator and inform him that you have not completed your certification.”

I got a response in thirty minutes!

I got the compliance I needed in a professional manner.  Everything I said was factual, not judgmental.  I’m just sorry that I waited three weeks to use my 2+2!!

I do want to point out that when you use this technique that you make sure the positive consequence is something that will be naturally occurring or something that is already in the schedule.

For example, if you have play time set up right after work time and it is occurring already in the schedule, it’s ok to say: “Finish your work and you’ll get play time, don’t finish your work and you’ll miss play time.”

What’s not ok to say is:  “If you finish your work, I’ll give you some candy, don’t finish your work and you won’t get candy.”

This would be an example of a bribe assuming that candy isn’t something that is on the daily schedule!   In this case, what is stopping your student from refusing to finish work everyday is the  hope of getting candy??

If you’ve watched the video, you saw the visual version of the 2+2.  You just draw a fork in the road with the 2+2 written on it or you can use pictures if your student/child can’t read.  This works SO WELL with students who need that visual support rather than verbal instructions.

Try this with ALL kids!  Your students/children with ASD, Down’s Syndrome, and Emotional Disorders will appreciate a less verbal approach to setting limits.

Now you have an awesome technique to use when your child says, “NO!” 

I’d LOVE to hear about your experiences with this tool, so please leave a comment below and share with me what happened when you gave it a try!



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