Dealing with Problem Behaviors: Everything You Need to Know
Parents and teachers are often faced with behavioral problems. Most of the time, it’s a one-time thing and the child won’t act out again. Unfortunately, some children have ongoing problem behaviors and those are the ones you need to be most concerned about. It’s important to deal with these children effectively. So, what do you need to know about dealing with problem behaviors?
Punishment Isn’t Always the Answer
A lot of parents and teachers are quick to punish a child when they exhibit problem behaviors. It’s an instinct and sometimes, it is the only way to deal with such issues. Some children will realize the seriousness of their actions and be too afraid to act out again. Unfortunately, others will continue to pose a problem. So, while punishment is necessary for aggression and temper tantrums, they might not solve the problem.
For example, a student throws temper tantrums 2 or 3 times a week. The reason is that they crave attention from their parents or their teachers. Punishing the child, however, reinforces their need to act out. Of course, punishment can be necessary, but the first step is to stop their behavior and replace it with a positive one instead.
The replacement behavior technique is a fantastic way to help resolve bad behavior issues. For instance, it can replace negative behaviors with a positive or more acceptable one. It is ideal for many children and can be effective if used correctly.
Terminologies to Remember
It’s crucial to understand the various terminologies associated with problem behaviors. These include:
- Replacement Behavior: This focuses on the positive behavior you want to replace the negative behavior with.
- Reinforcement: This is the reward children receive by replacing their bad behaviors with good ones.
- Problem or Target Behavior: Quite simply, this is the behavior that causes the issues and needs to be resolved.
The Right Replacement Behavior Must Be Found
Whether you’re a teacher or parent, the point is to replace the problem behavior with an appropriate one. A lot of people just assume the aim is to stop or prevent the bad behavior; however, it needs to go one step further and change the behavior entirely. It’s about removing a negative and replacing it with a positive.
How to Change Bad Behaviors?
Here is a brief example of how problem behavior could be tackled:
- You must identify the problem behavior. If there are several behavior issues to be addressed, focus on the most pressing one.
- Find out the cause of the problem. For instance, is the child looking for attention? Or, is there a pattern to the outburst, such as in specific classes?
- Find a suitable replacement for the behavior, such as raising the hand to ask a question.
- Reinforce the change. If the child can change their behavior, they earn a reward at the end of the week.
Punishing a child is a simple way to deal with problem behavior, unfortunately, it may not solve the issue entirely. Instead, it’s important to replace the problem behavior with a more positive one. It’s about teaching the child to become a more productive student. Target behaviors often cause stress for parents, teachers, and even the child; finding a way to correct it can resolve many simple issues.