How Behavioral Therapy Changed the way I discipline my children

 

Positive behavior through Behavioral therapy

Positive behavior through Behavioral therapy

First thing first, we all have been that raging lunatic at Target or the mall.  All of our kids have had these moments in public or at home while your bestie is visiting.  It’s all about how we as moms handle ourselves and deal with the behavior.  There is no right or wrong answer, however there are tools to assist us in the long road of tantrums.  So don’t worry, your normal. Even though that lady staring at you seems to think differently.

Since my son was dual diagnosed with ADHD and High Functioning Autism we have been undergoing extensive in home behavioral therapy.  It’s a super busy week for us, even though it’s technically summer break.  I have seen improvements and I have seen more struggles than before.  But overall it helps and only works if you maintain routine and consistency.  Now I am finding my two younger children are learning from it and their behavior patterns are changing as well.  As I started going through this therapy with my son I realized something…I’m totally in control.  I need to allow him to feel he is control without being a crazy screaming lady.  There is a way, there is hope and here’s my story.

 

So I’ll start at the beginning. This diagnosis has been a huge blessing to our family.  Without it, I would’ve never realized I needed help.  I would have not recognized the potential my son has and how to help him thrive in his little life.  Although it’s difficult to hear it’s something that needed to happen.  So what does therapy consist of? Positivity, positivity, positivity! Everything is aimed toward making him feel good and ultimately making your life easier.  I have found that this is the simplest form of motivation.  They feel better about themselves when they know they are doing something good/right.  I have found yelling and screaming only scares them, rather than focusing on the positive behavior they are displaying.  So what if there isn’t anything positive going on? Redirect.  If he is yelling, screaming, or hitting, redirect the negative behavior and turn it into a positive.  They feel they are in control but you still are.

So I’m going to include some tips on how to do this.  It’s something every parent should know, not just those of special needs.

 

Token/Reward Chart:

Token Chart to encourage positive behavior

Token Chart to encourage positive behavior

The one we use is laminated and made with Velcro so it’s easy to remove and add smiley faces as needed.  Once they earn all the smiley faces they can win prices or rewards.  I do a daily, weekly, and monthly reward.  They need to see the long term value in good behavior.  I have recently started using an App called 123 Token me (I’ll have a review up on my site very soon). This app is so great and wonderful tool to encourage your child to be involved in tracking his behaviors.  SO far so good, even though all of the other tools work just as well.

 

 

 

This or that:

I like to use this method because it still gives me complete control of what I want them to do.  For example, “Feed the dog, please” I usually get an I don’t want too response.  So I tell them you can feed the dog in 30 seconds or one minute.  This shows them that they have options and they feel like they have control over the task. Regardless if it’s done in 30 seconds or one minute it still gets done and everyone is happy.

 

Timer:

The timer is my best friend! You can use this for anything, and I mean anything! Set the timer for sharing and taking turns. I also use the “this or that” method as well.  It’s now becoming second nature with the timer in our house.  We use it for everything. Start small with one or two minutes, give them the option to have more time but only three times this gives them a limit and they will ask for more time all day long.  They can use their “more time” option throughout the day or all at once, you give them the choice.

 

FullSizeRender (18)Make them work for the things they want:

You can have your child work for anything! Make them clean the toys for a snack of their choice, everything can have a reward. Showing them the importance of working for things is beneficial to getting the behaviors you want for your child.  I post up pictures around the house or I buy the toy he wants in advance and show him what he will get if he gets all his stickers for the week.  It’s a great tool and really works.  I use this color chart (the idea came from my son’s Kindergarten teacher).  It works so well for all of my kids.  Once they end the day on Green or Purple they get a reward.  This is another great visual aide for them to see their behaviors and the consequences they render.

 

Routine:

calendar for visual aide to see good behaviors.

calendar for visual aide to see good behaviors.

I have said this before and I stand by it.  Setting a routine is crucial for results.  It’s very difficult to keep schedules consistent, especially if you have other kids to tend to.  Making a calendar and daily routine will help and eventually will be second nature to the children.

 

Always focus on the Good:

You can turn things around by changing your own behaviors.  For me what has been the biggest struggle is thinking about the negative “I’m so frustrated” or “this is never going to work”.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not an easy habit to break.  You basically have to re-train your though process.  Every time my son is acting up, I remind him what his reward is.  Once he’s reminded he instantly starts changing the behaviors, sometimes it take more than one reminder and this is OK too.

Praise:

You can give praise for any good behavior you see going on.  For example, “I like the way you are sharing” or “that’s a great job” and give a high five.  This will show them you are paying attention and focusing on the good you see rather than the negative.  I found a great tool of different ways you can tell your child good job, it has helped me so much so I don’t sound like a broken record.  You can find it here.

 

These are some of the things I am learning through Behavioral Therapy.  It’s really been a huge blessing to me.  It helps you recognize and change your own behaviors to help your child through theirs.  Keep in mind that things may get worse before they get better and to be patient through it.  Always ask for help because you are not alone in this.  Everything will work out if you maintain consistency and stand your ground.

I know it sounds like a very tedious process, but trust me it really works.  This journey isn’t easy and it takes all of your energy and dedication. But I have found myself being less of a raging screaming mama and more of a mom who is in control of her home and kids.  It’s a work in progress that’s for sure.  But I believe and have faith that it will help our family in the long run.

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to share this post with someone who needs the tips.  Let’s keep striving for mommy success and together we can make a difference.

 

 

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