How To Get Children To Behave | Teaching Self-Government

How To Get Children To Behave


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“HI Nicholeen. I have the biggest problem in implementing your method... when 
you give a consequence but they refuse to do it...???then WHAT?? I can give 
them all the jobs they "earned" but can't make them do it... WHAT then???This 
is my biggest difficulty in implementing what I think is an amazing method... 
comments? suggestions??? And we are talking 4 & 6 year olds....VERY stubborn ones too...”

Good question. Many people want to know how to make children behave.

You need to have the whole system in order to implement self-government teaching completely. Do you have the book or audio seminar? Once you know all five teaching styles, the Four Basic Skills, and have your family government in order then you will not have to worry about not knowing what to do. You will have a system to back you up.

It sounds like you may not be using all five teaching styles yet.

If your child refuses to do a chore they have earned, then they are not accepting a consequence, and could even be “out of instructional control.” If they are not accepting a consequence you need to do a proper correction. As part of the correction they would earn another negative consequence in accordance with your family economy.

If they are still not willing to follow any instructions, then you need to do the Rule of Three. Feeling confident with your intensive teaching system and being willing to use it will create a consistent atmosphere for changing of hearts to occur.

Young Children

Since your children are ages four and six, you need to modify things a bit. Do an effective correction using the proper tone to change hearts and show you understand your child. Then if you determine that they are “out of instructional control” and need the Rule of Three then use the self-government method of using time out I describe in my book and audio seminar.

The six year old, depending on maturity could be old enough for the rule of three, but the consequences would need to be adjusted to fit his age. A full 24 hours could be too much. You may want to do three, six or twelve hours instead.


Don't keep piling on consequences. If they don't accept a consequence correctly, using all the steps, they they are out of control. At that point, do the Rule of Three or calmly take them to the “get ready” spot, time-out. If they seem like they accept the consequence but don't do it, then do the same thing. They are manipulating.

Also, make sure your young ones know how to do what they have earned. Be sure you have prepped them adequately to do the task correctly. If they don't know how to do the skill, or have never done it themselves before they could get more anxiety and fail due to stress. Remember, age appropriate tasks, and pre-teaching.


The most important thing for you to remember is that each interaction is less about the chore and more about learning self-government through cause and effect. There is an endless supply of chores, they only have one heart. So, don't let yourself worry about the chore as much as analyze if they are learning the self-government skills they need for happiness in life. They may choose to be “out of instructional control.” If so, the chores can wait. Reach their hearts first, then all the chores earned will be taken care of. 

I know you are worried and stressed, but you have to stay calm in order to teach them self-government. It might be helpful for you to join the ten step Implementation Course. You can sign up for six payments of $50. Then you will implement the principles in the right order, and with weekly support from me on calls.   There is no need to worry about how to make children behave if you have a complete self-government environment at home. 


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