Many children have trouble controlling themselves at home. Behaviors such as oppositionalism, inattention, homework refusal, argumentativeness, sleep problems, etc. can cause disruptions to family life, strife between parents, sibling anger and ineffective strategies to deal with those behaviors. It can be quite challenging to respond in these moments, but by using behavioral therapy techniques, parents can manage difficult behaviors while teaching their children necessary skills.
To understand a person’s behavior, it’s important to also think about what came before that behavior and what comes after it: the antecedent to the behavior, or the behavior’s “trigger”, and the consequence of the behavior.
To successfully implement behavior therapy techniques, parents and caregivers must first carefully define desired behaviors, and then cultivate certain antecedents and consequences to encourage those behaviors. Likewise, parents must take care to avoid other types of antecedents and consequences so as not to encourage negative behaviors.
For example, parents should not assume that all expectations are understood, but should instead explicitly spell out their expectations such as “finish your homework before dinner”.
Continue reading about this topic at ChildMind, and come to our offices this Saturday for even more tips.