What Is Behavior Modification?
In layman's terms, behavior modification involves identifying inappropriate behaviors and implementing methods that will fix them. This often means changing your child's environment and improving your ability to follow through.
The goal is to gradually decrease undesirable behaviors and reinforce appropriate behaviors by using a token system based on rewards and consequences. You know you're on the right track when the intensity, frequency, and duration of the undesirable behaviors decreases.
Behavior modification comes down to consistency, consistency, and more consistency! This means you must respond the same way each time your child demonstrates an inappropriate behaviors, and follow through with consistent rewards and consequences. No matter how tired or frustrated you feel, you cannot give in to your child’s whining, yelling, outbursts and tantrums (unless he is hurting himself, others, or destroying your home). When you cave in, you teach your child that she can get what she wants by increasing out-of-control behavior.
Make a list of strategies for maintaining your self-control. How you will handle resistance? Will you take deep breaths, count to ten, ignore and proceed with what you were doing as if nothing is happening?
If you lose control how can expect for your child to stay in control? Actions speak louder than words, do what you say and say what you do. Easier said than done, especially if the parent also has ADD. Therefore, you must have a plan and a support system in place before you implement behavior modification.
All of the adults in your family must be united and respond the same way to inappropriate behaviors. I always tell parents you either "pay now" or "pay later" as your child becomes older and the problems become bigger.
Next: Rewards and Consequences
Linda Karanzalis, M.S., is an adult with ADD/ADHD, a learning specialist, the founder of ADDvantages Learning Center, and an ADD/ADHD coach who specializes in helping both children and adults with ADD/ADHD and learning disabilities to reach their potential.