What is Behavior Management?
To understand behavior management, it is important to first understand behavior. Children typically engage in various behaviors for one of three reasons:
- To get access to something
- To get out of something
- To get attention
We call these functions of behavior! These are important because in order to manage the behavior, we need to be able to identify the function of the behavior (meaning: why are they doing what they are doing?) What behavior management does is help kids learn to achieve and communicate what they want in an adaptive way.
Behavior is communicating something to us and the behavior will continue until the message is heard. You can modify behavior to either decrease an action (wetting the bed) or increase an action (cleaning their room).
Behavior management is a technique that involves practical applications and tools to help children learn new appropriate behaviors and get rid of maladaptive behaviors. Identifying antecedents and consequences of the behavior (ABC’s), planned ignoring, reinforcement of appropriate behaviors with equivalent functioning, modeling, and functional communication training are all strategies that are used to help increase more appropriate behaviors and decrease negative behaviors. This strategy can be implemented individually by a trained therapist, social worker or in group settings. It can also vary in its intensity, as well.
Working on behavior once per week may be sufficient for some, while others may need a little bit of practice every day! Behavior management is most often applied by a classroom teacher in group settings as a way to increase work completion and decrease off task behavior and classroom disruption. These strategies may consist of things like reward charts, earning a pizza party, visual reminders of desirable behaviors, consistency and follow-through.
Parents and children alike benefit from successful behavior management. Your child feels more in control of themselves and is receiving more positive attention from you as a parent. Potty training, anger management, sibling rivalry, chore/homework tasks, school refusal, and anxiety are just a few examples where behavior management can be beneficial.
Here at North shore Pediatric Therapy we have trained social workers who specialize in the area of behavior management. For more demanding behavioral changes, we offer Applied Behavior Analysis where a trained behavior therapist works with your child in a more intense and structured setting.