Is back talking and arguing behavior WEARING YOU DOWN? The Triton Team is here to offer help.
While it’s easy to label a behavior as “bad”, an undesirable behavior can be an adaptive response to a situation too challenging for a child to manage. All individuals, no matter their age, display any number of adaptive behaviors to cope with their environmental situations. A child’s strategy for adaptation can stress parents, but identifying the cause is the first step to helping a child through challenges.
Think about your child’s most recurring problematic behaviors. Do these sound familiar? Which ones do you notice most?
-emotional meltdowns -food aversions
-refusal or defiance -impulsive actions
-difficulty with transitions -bedtime avoidance
It’s natural for parents to take disciplinary action right away when an undesirable behavior has occurred. However, what’s most important is a parent’s state of mind at the time of response. The best time to approach a child’s behavior is when both parties are ready to listen, learn, and understand. If that’s too difficult initially, communicate with your child that you will return to the issue when you are in a calm state of mind.
New behaviors can be taught with consistency. BCBA, Ericka Smith, gives parents three key components for beginning behavior modification:
- Expect your child to question rules
There is so much information that children don’t understand while they are trying to navigate their world. Often they may not be questioning you, but trying to understand unfamiliar information. Children are also searching for certainty. They are looking to you to give them consistent answers that align with your behavior and the rules set forth. Children will test their support system to know how it works, and how stable it is.
- Start with small successes
Anyone, no matter their age, is motivated to keep trying when they feel successful. By allowing children to feel successful, they will be more likely to attempt challenging tasks. To motivate a new behavior, begin by giving your child a task they’ve already mastered or is fun for them. This will start the momentum and give them the confidence to attempt a task that is more challenging.
- Expect mistakes
Failure and big emotions are part of the growth process. When an adult can allow a child to struggle and continue to be on the child’s side as a motivator, the child can learn to recover more quickly. This builds trust between the adult and the child.
If you need expert guidance to get the results you want for your child, visit this link to register for Ericka’s FREE interactive workshop!