As parents know, a child’s misbehavior can create chaos, disorder and discontent within a family that often leads to guilt, disappointment and frustration that can cloud even the very best intentions. Parents and caregivers may have found themselves simply reacting rather than thinking through the best way to handle the situation out of sheer frustration.
For frustrated parents ready to tear their hair out, Dr. Ira Chasnoff, MD, president of Children’s Research Triangle and leading researcher in the field of child development, offers an eight-eight step structured problem-solving approach to behavior management in his new book, The Mystery of Risk: Drugs, Alcohol, Pregnancy and the Vulnerable Child, written in an effort to help families who are struggling with children deemed ‘at-risk’ because of behaviors during pregnancy and a lack of proper care and support after. Chasnoff provides practical behavior management techniques and proven intervention tips for parents biological, foster, or adoptive as well as teachers and healthcare practitioners.
Dr. Chasnoff’s key concepts of reinforcement, punishment and logical consequences which can help parents make their child more compliant, better able to complete his homework, and less inclined to hit others when frustrated or angry.
- Step 1: Identify the specific behavior that needs to be changed and pinpoint what the difficulty is.
- Step 2: Take actual notes on the frequency and duration of behavior.
- Step 3: Establish contributing factors: try to understand the multiple biological and environmental factors that contribute to the inappropriate behaviors, such as a child becoming agitated every time an older sibling dominates a conversation at mealtime.
- Step 4: Identify an appropriate behavior to replace the targeted behavior by teaching a child how to manage anger impulses and frustrations
- Step 5: Brainstorm possible interventions such as establishing a calm-down corner or going to their room.
- Step 6: Communicate interventions to the child and include them in defining the intervention and work with your child to establish realistic goals for success.
- Step 7: Implement selected interventions: Be prepared, remind your child of the plan and don’t deviate from your goals.
- Step 8: Evaluate and revise interventions: Give yourself at least two weeks to evaluate your plan, children will test you to see how serious you are and thus target behavior may increase at first.