Unfortunately, behavior issues rarely wait for an ideal time to happen. That means that one of the most difficult parts of parenting is handling difficult, defiant, or disruptive behavior at home. An act as simple as trying to get dressed in the morning can start a full-blown temper tantrum. Dealing with that can be very difficult.
One way for all parents to handle behavioral issues at home is with behavior therapy techniques. Over the course of many years, these techniques have been specifically developed to work in difficult situations.
The Life Cycle Of Behavior
Bad behavior typically has a three-step life cycle. In order to combat unwanted behavior, you need to understand how the behavior works. Let’s examine the life cycle of behavior. This can typically be thought of in an ABC approach.
This is what happens before the behavior begins. The action or set of actions that sets off the unwanted behavior. Some people refer to these as triggers. As a parent, you will probably know at least some of your child’s triggers already.
The unwanted actions that you are trying to control.
Consequences – What the results of the behavior will be. This includes both short term and long term consequences. It also includes the likelihood of the behavior recurring.
Have Specific Behavior Targets
In order to correct behavior, you need to know exactly what behavior you want to correct. You should come up with a plan that includes the specific behaviors you want to manage. The behaviors must be both observable and measurable.
Step A – Antecedents
It is important to identify what leads up to unwanted behavior. Just as important, is learning what can stop that behavior before it happens. To effectively control behavior at home you should have a thorough knowledge of what triggers your child. You may know a good portion of their triggers but observe in order to learn what triggers to embrace and what to correct.
Step B – Behaviors
We already mentioned that you need to have specific targets. This part of the plan should include all of the behaviors you want to avoid and all of the ones you want to encourage.
Step C – Consequences
The last part of the at-home behavioral management plan is to identify what consequences you are going to use. Effective consequences such as recognition, rewards, timeouts, and similar methods should be utilized. On the other hand, you want to avoid negative attention and disproportionate consequences. Additionally, consequences must be delivered rapidly after the behavior so that the behavior is associated with the consequence.
It may help to break your behavioral management plan down by behavior. That way you can list what leads up to a specific behavior, the behavior itself, and how you plan to handle it. That way you already have an idea of what antecedents to support and what to discourage and what consequences to use for each behavior.
Behavior therapy is well established and it is a relatively simple tool when you look at it. That is the beauty, it is easy to learn and use at home. Despite that, it is one of the most effective ways to help keep unwanted behavior away.
For more information on behavior therapy in the home contact us for a free consultation.