When your child is doing something that is driving you crazy and/or causing problems in your home- what is your first reaction? What is that knee jerk parenting reaction we all have. SHUT. IT. DOWN. Make it stop. Find a way to put an end to this problem behavior.
What if you flipped that perspective? Instead of squashing the problem behavior- what if you replace it?
I challenge you to try these steps this week:
- Notice the specific behavior(s) your child is doing that are causing the problem.
- Notice what is going on right then. What is happening right before and right after the problem behavior?
- Even though you are not a trained behavior analyst, do the parenting version of figuring out WHY your child is engaging in this behavior. What is it that they want? Attention? Access to a favorite item or activity? To get out of doing something they don’t want to like chores or something?
- Identify a better way for your child to get what they want.
- Teach it to them. Directly.
- Use positive reinforcement to build up this new behavior or more appropriate way to get what they want.
- Pay attention to see if it is working. Make adjustments if it isn’t working.
When we just squash problem behaviors as they arise, we find ourselves in an endless game of whack-a-mole, jumping from one problem to another. When you play whack-a-mole, what happens to your heart rate? To your anxiety levels? Do you get all tense and stressed like I do? I get so worked up over games like this where you are trying to anticipate the next move to win. There is no strategy. It’s stressful and frankly not all that fun.
What about in your parenting? Wouldn’t it be easier to work with a strategy, a plan? Wouldn’t it be better if you didn’t just run around putting out fires all the time, unable to predict where the next problem was going to jump up at you? Wouldn’t you rather work on teaching and building up skills and behaviors in your kids instead of punishment and getting rid of issues- just in time for another to pop up?
Traditional parenting tells us to react. React to the problem Shut it down and move on. Proactive parenting strategies can make a HUGE difference. Flip that perspective. Instead of just shutting down the problems- replace them. Spend your precious time and energy on teaching skills and building them up with positive reinforcement.
And guess what happens to your relationship with your children? Guess which one is better for building connection: squashing problems nonstop or teaching and building up?
Parenting with ABA harnesses the power of positive reinforcement to build up those desired behaviors and to teach new appropriate behaviors. It’s setting our kids up for success both now and in the long run. Using small, actionable steps can help us be more effective and more efficient as parents. And then what’s left? Time to ENJOY our kids! Isn’t that why we became parents in the first place?
Here is the Confident Parenting Framework that I teach inside the CPF program.
- Focus on what you want your child to do INSTEAD.
- Tell them. Succinctly.
- Teach them the skill/ behavior.
- Catch them being good.
- Reward them for doing it.
- Watch to see if your rewards are actually working.
- Adjust, fade, repeat as necessary.
Using the science of behavior as a parent can involve a shift in perspective. We aren’t trying to constantly get rid of ‘bad’ behaviors. What CAN your child do instead? Focus on building up the replacement behaviors through positive reinforcement strategies.
When we build up all the appropriate behaviors, there’s no longer room for the problem behaviors to occur. Build up the good stuff. Set your child up for success.
And the best part? You don’t have to do any of this alone. I’m just one quick click away to set up your free consultation to brainstorm the best way to use the Confident Parenting Framework to set you and your family up for success.