Ignoring techniques

This is a major way of reducing the behaviour you don’t like. 

woman reading a bookYou must use ignoring techniques every time the behaviour happens, otherwise the behaviour will become worse instead of better.

Here’s how to do it

  1. Give no eye contact or other expressions of disapproval, e.g. frowns, raise eyebrows etc.
  2. Turn your head away so that you can watch from the corner of your eye
  3. Cross your arms and if necessary your legs
  4. Make no verbal contact:  once you have started ignoring, don’t say anything to your child.  If you do, you are no longer ignoring him/her; instead you are rewarding your child with attention for behaving inappropriately
  5. Make no physical contact; you may have to stand up or even leave the room to avoid giving physical attention to your child
  6. Do something distracting to help you ignore, e.g. read the paper

Stop ignoring as soon as the inappropriate behaviour has stopped.  Give an 'attend' or 'praise' for the first appropriate behaviour your child displays.


  • When you ignore behaviour, it may get worse before it gets better
  • There are some behaviours that you should not ignore for example whenever there is a chance of harm to the child, to someone else or to property. It is here that a punishment (consequence of the behaviour) is appropriate

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