__________________ABA FACT OF THE WEEK_________________
First of all, ALL children have problem behaviors for their parents. You are not failing as a parent if your kid acts up, and you are not alone if your child has hurt your feelings! Children will exhibit whatever behaviors are effective for them. Sometimes hurting your feelings is the most effective path!! Perhaps calling you names, or pushing his sister is getting him attention or something he wants!
Having the right perspective on your child’s behavior is so helpful for increasing the ability to respond in a way that teaches! Look at problem behavior as an attempt at communication that needs to be shaped. If that behavior works for them, it will continue.
All behaviors can be boiled down into four different functions:
1. To get something you want.
2. To get out of something you don’t want.
3. To get attention.
4. Because you like it.
When your child is having a problem behavior ask yourself, what are they getting out of this?
If they are seeking attention, instead of, “ Stop hitting me!!” try, “ If you want my attention use a calm voice and ask to play.” Then withhold attention until they follow your directions. When they do follow your directions, immediately play with them so that behavior is reinforced.
If they are seeking escape, instead of a reprimand, say, “Hitting will not get you out of your homework but it is ok to calmly ask for a break.” If they calmly ask for a break reinforce that immediately by allowing the break.
If they are trying to get something they want with problem behavior let them know, “This behavior will not get you what you want but if you want to eat that cookie you can earn it by helping your sister.” Once they do the behavior you specified to earn that item, give it to them immediately so they learn the preferred behavior is more effective than the problem behavior!
If they are doing it because they like it (often sensory behavior), find replacement behaviors that serve the same function that you are ok with and reinforce them at every chance you can!
Reinforce behaviors you want to see more of! Behavior goes where reinforcement flows.