Dr. Benjamin Chan explains how the Traffic Light system of green, yellow, and red behaviors can help parents control undesirable tantrums.">

Dec 7, 2017 — Managing a child's angry temper tantrums often requires parents to have an easy-to-understand system to communicate. On today's Health Minute, child psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Chan explains how the Traffic Light system of green, yellow, and red behaviors can help parents control undesirable tantrums.

Interview

Announcer: The Health Minute, produced by University of Utah Health.

Interviewer: Use a traffic light system to improve your child's behavior. Child psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Chan, how does it work?

Dr. Chan: This is for really young kids, I would say ages 10 and younger. Think of a traffic light. Green means great behavior. Keep on what you're doing, praise them for being good, catch them for being good. Yellow behavior is when they slip up, when they say something mean, or they make a bad comment, or they don't follow directions the first time, or they refuse to pick up that toy and put it away. Red level is reserved for aggression. Verbal aggression, physical aggression, things that are very concerning to you as a parent and, I would argue, society in general. You have to give children opportunities to move back up. So even if they are in red, you can tell them that if they do better next hour, they can move back up to green. Again, children really are motivated and respond to short-term goals like that.

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