Let's look at a couple examples:
- The parent is walking through the living room and, as she passes, the child puts her/his feet up on the coffee table (when told previously not to do so).
- The parent tells all the kids to calm down and use their “inside voice,” but the defiant child immediately shouts out loud.
Planned ignoring is a conscious decision to not attend to the behavior at the time it occurs. It does not mean ignoring the behavior forever, which would be condoning it.
Usually, when a child violates a rule immediately after it has been given, it is an attempt to engage the parent in an argument and seize control of the situation. Behaviors that are insubordinate, but do not endanger the physical or psychological safety of others, can be temporarily ignored.
When your child sees that you are not going to “give up” control by taking the time to engage in an argument, the behavior often stops. If, however, when the behavior is ignored the child escalates it, you need to interpret the meaning of the behavior.
It’s important to let ALL your kids know about the strategy of “planned ignoring.” You might say:
“There are going to be times when someone violates a rule and it looks like I’m not paying attention or I’m letting them get away with it. I want you to know that I am choosing to ignore them for the time being because what’s most important is that I continue to teach and you continue to learn. I want you to know that the misbehavior will be addressed at a later time and the child will receive consequences for her/his behavioral choices. The rules haven’t changed.”
==> Effective Disciplinary Techniques for Defiant Teens and Preteens