Child Behavior Modification

Behavior modification is a treatment approach, based on the principles of operant conditioning that replaces undesirable behaviors with more desirable ones through positive or negative reinforcement.

In an article published in About Parenting, it states that behavior modification is one of the five main types of child discipline. It’s based on an underlying principle that guides a lot of discipline strategies. It’s based on B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning concept. It’s a fairly straightforward process that uses a behaviorist approach to explain the science behind behavior change. Although new books and ideas are always surfacing, many of them are subtypes of these already existing five types of discipline. Experts don’t always agree on which type of discipline is best, but it’s clear that there are benefits of each one. They all have quite a bit in common but use slightly different techniques to manage behavior problems.

  1.  Positive Discipline
    2.  Gentle Discipline
    3.  Boundary-Based Discipline
    4.  Behavior Modification
    5.  Emotion Coaching

Determining which type of discipline is right for your family should be a personal choice based on your temperament, your child’s temperament, and your family’s discipline philosophies. There isn’t a single type of discipline that will work for all kids or all families and in every situation. It’s likely that you might take a diverse approach, where you use a few different techniques from each type of discipline.

When it comes to discipline, parents can apply this principle by using reinforcement to encourage good behaviors to be repeated and punishment to discourage negative behavior from being repeated. As a parent, if you’re not sure what type of discipline to apply you can always ask a family counselor, psychologist, or even your child’s pediatrician. Mental health counselors like Jennifer Nahrebeski specialize in children and adolescent issues such as oppositional defiance and anger management, which can be approached with child behavior modification. Jennifer also addresses parent/child relationships, providing sessions to increase positive interactions in the home, as well as co-parenting concerns and/or discipline styles.

Behavior modification is a great way to address a variety of behavior problems. It is often used to shape behavior one step at a time. It can particularly be effective when disciplining kids with ADHD, autism or oppositional defiant disorder.

You might have the most success using a combination of rewards and punishments as you attempt to change your child’s behavior. However, some children will naturally respond better to one or the other, making it the best choice for your family. Go over the rules with your child/children so they are aware of your expectations. Your rewards and punishments should change over time as your child/children get older or they might quit responding to them in a positive way.

A happy child means a happier you. So, why not invest in your child’s happiness? Jennifer can help. Contact her at (716) 432-3656. You’ll feel safe and comfortable, as all her sessions are confidential. For your convenience she is available on evenings and weekends by appointment.