A Parent`s Guide to Behavior Management

Dr. Jeffrey S. Selman
Licensed Psychologist
Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Director of Clinical Services – JSS Behavioral Services
Presentation Overview
 What is Behavior?
 ABC’s of Behavior
 Principles of Behavior
 Techniques and Strategies
 Questions and Review
A Note from our Sponsor…
This presentation is brought to you by the letters “B” and
“Behavior – human or otherwise –
remains an extremely difficult
subject matters”
B.F. Skinner, 1969
On Parenting…
 Before I got married I had six theories about bringing
up children; now I have six children, and no theories.
~John Wilmot
 No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will
eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I'm not
talking about the kids. ~Bill Cosby, Fatherhood, 1986
What is Behavior?
 Everything that people do (actions; things you can see
or hear)
 Behavior is learned…over time
 “shaping”
 Behavior occurs for a reason. It does not happen
 “function” vs. “form”
What is Problem Behavior?
 Behavior that poses a danger or harm to self and/or others
 Behavior that causes property damage
 Behavior that interferes with an individual’s ability to learn
and function in society
 Behavior that if not reduced, will decrease opportunities
for an individual to contact reinforcement
Our goal is to increase the amount of reinforcement in the
child’s environment!
Functional Assessment
 Allows us to understand why an individual engages in
a specific behavior
 Looks at the interaction between the child and his/her
environment; what variables were in place before and
after the behavior began
 Most often individuals engage in behavior to
 Obtain object/activity/food
 Obtain attention
 Escape/avoid something
 Self-stimulation
ABC’s of Behavior
The ABC model helps identify the reinforcer/consequence
that is maintaining the behavior
- What purpose does it serve?
- What happened before (antecedent)
- What happened after/what consequence(s) occur
following the behavior that is maintaining or decreasing it?
A-B-C Model
 A= Antecedent
 What was the setting or the event that occurred before
the behavior started
Think about…
When did the behavior start?
Who was there when the behavior started?
Where did the behavior occur?
A-B-C Model
 B= Behavior
 What specifically occurred?
Examples of common problems:
Hitting, throwing things, crying, running away from adults, spitting, kicking
Define broader problem behaviors:
Physical aggression: Any instance of hitting, kicking, or
attempts at hitting or kicking
Demand refusal: Any instance of ignoring or saying “no” to
work demands, requests, or walking away from demands or
A-B-C Model
 C= Consequence
 What happened after the behavior started?
Think about…
What happened immediately after the behavior started?
How did you (or the other people) react?
Did the incident result in any long term consequences?
Reinforcement and Punishment
 Positive Reinforcement
 Negative Reinforcement
 Punishment
Positive and Negative does not mean good or bad!
Anything following a behavior which increases the
likelihood that the behavior will occur again…
Positive Reinforcement – a stimulus that when
presented immediately following a behavior increases
the future frequency of the behavior
Negative Reinforcement - a stimulus that when
removed immediately following a behavior increases
the future frequency of the behavior
Anything following a behavior which decreases the
likelihood that the behavior will occur again…
…if it doesn’t decrease the behavior in the future, can we
still call it punishment?
Questions about punishment:
Does punishment work? - meaningful, immediate,
What are some problems with punishment?
Why do problem behaviors occur?
Individuals engage in problem behavior because their
behaviors have produced reinforcement in the past and over
Putting it all together:
“Due to a history of socially-mediated negative reinforcement, Kara will
hit, kick and yell when transitioning from a preferred activity to a nonpreferred activity”
“When JJ wants access to a preferred item (toy, computer) that he
cannot have, JJ will verbally aggress or tantrum due to a history of
socially-mediated positive reinforcement.”
Behavior Interventions
 Evidence-based
 Data-driven
 Effective!
 Research validated to use with children, adults,
families, individuals with Autism, ADHD, ODD,
Intellectual Disabilities, other psychiatric disorders, in
clinics, in school settings, homes, communities, etc…
Principles of Behavior Management
 Considerations:
 “Should” world
 Consistency
 Anticipation
 Meaningfulness
 Frequency
 Balance
 Immediacy
 Being specific
 Pair, Pair, Pair! Environment, people, etc
chocolate chip cookie vs. fig newt0n
 Differential Reinforcement
 Intermittent Reinforcement
Antecedent Interventions
 Environmental accommodations
 Visible Schedules
 Noncontingent Reinforcement
 Contact reinforcement right away!
Give effective commands/requests
High P, Low P request sequence -Behavior Momentum
Functional Communication Training
Pairing/Rapport building
Identify high-risk situations
Reinforcement Interventions
 Praise and Positive Attention
 “Catch him/her being good”
 Always pair praise with items/edibles
 Premack Principle (if-then)
 Contingency Contracts
 Cue and Review
 Token Economy
 Group Contingency
 Independent: Reward for only those who complete task
 Dependent: Hero! Reward for all based on one
 Interdependent: individually and as a group
 Response Cost
 Bonus Response Cost
 Time Out from reinforcement
 Extinction (planned ignoring, maintain demand)
 Block and Ignore
 Important considerations regarding punishment:
- Reinforce and enrich time-in environment (increase positive
reinforcement in child’s environment)
- Always consider combining with positive reinforcement procedures
- Consider how intense behaviors are, plan ahead, and monitor
- Teach new skills! Make sure child knows what to do, not just want
not to do
Reward First Downs, Not Just Touchdowns!
Can solve problems/learn new behaviors through
shaping – reinforcing small approximations of desired
Final Thoughts…
 Remember…
 Pay attention to good behavior and give plenty of
positive feedback
 Increase the amount of reinforcement in your child’s
 Differential Reinforcement
 Remain consistent, meaningful, balanced, and
immediate with your consequences
 Try to anticipate problem behaviors (high risk
situations) and have a plan
 Self care!!!
Contact Information
For copies of this presentation and ABC forms:
JSS Behavioral Services
A Center for Family-Focused Behavioral Care
Jeffrey S. Selman, PsyD, BCBA-D, NCSP
Co-Founder/Director of Clinical Services
9225 University Blvd
Suite E2A
North Charleston, SC 29406
phone: (843) 637-4322
(843) 793-3691
email: [email protected]

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