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Basic Behavior Management


  • When targeting anticipated negative behavior, set clear natural logical consequences.  For example, if your child breaks something that is not theirs, the child must use their resources to fix or replace it.


  • If you make a rule, add a natural logical consequence and share both with your child ahead of time. If the rule is broken, then stick with the consequence you had agreed upon. It is imperative to follow through consistently in order to help extinguish the behavior.


  • Involve your child in determining consequences.  For example, if you would like them to shut down the computer at a certain time, have them set the consequence for if they break that rule. Conversely, and just as important, have a positive logical consequence if they follow the rule consistently throughout the week- such as extra tech time on the weekend.


  • Consider a “Family Constitution” in which all family members help make the rules and determine the consequences. Then simply refer to the constitution when dispensing consequences.


  • Be sure to point out all of the positive things that you have witnessed your child doing during the day.


  • Shape behavior by attending to positive behaviors at a rate three times that of negative behaviors. What you give attention to grows, what you ignore fades away.


  • Discuss the characteristics of LD and/or ADHD that cause your child the most significant challenges.  Identify strategies to deal with each challenge area. Never allow your child to use their label as an excuse for bad behavior.


  • Sometimes what we see as behavior problems are actually problems related to distractibility.  Assess for auditory, visual, and tactile distractions in your child’s environment.  Strategies can be developed to deal with these distractions once they are recognized.


  • Model positive communication skills. Avoid talking to your child when you are angry, agitated or upset unless your child is in danger or putting others in danger. If your child is yelling, have them take a few minutes to calm down or take a time out, then encourage them to share with you what was causing their frustration using “I” statements, such as “I feel it is not fair that I cannot have a friend over today.”


  • When using natural logical consequences to shape behavior, be sure to follow through consistently. If a privilege has been earned, make sure it is received. If a privilege has been taken away, do not be swayed to give it back before the set time.


  • When dealing with noncompliant behavior, look for the situations and environments you find this behavior most often occurs.  Some factors to examine may include: transitions, medication schedules, time of day, and consequences that seem to only escalate behavior.  Once you have identified these situations consider adapting the environment to make them easier for your child to maneuver.


  • Noncompliance can be one of the most frustrating behaviors to deal with.  Insure the consequences you dispense are consistent and that you follow through.  If your response to this behavior ranges from harsh to permissive you may actually be increasing the frequency in which noncompliance will occur.  Never threaten a consequence you are not ready to implement.


  • Insure you can control the factors implemented as consequences when dealing with noncompliance.  Money, transportation, phone use, and items in the house are tangibles that are relatively easy to control.


  • When your child starts to become oppositional, consider ignoring their comments and behavior until it becomes more appropriate.  Once your child begins to comply, lavish positive attention upon your child.  The contrast between ignoring and positive reinforcement may illicit wonderful results.


  • Consequences are natural and logical; punishments are not. Consequences work well, punishments do not and may increase anger, frustration and resentment.


  • Natural logical consequences paired with genuine and specific praise are your most effective tools to help your child change negative behaviors.


For more information or targeted strategies regarding your child’s specific strengths or challenges contact our Family Support Coordinator, Dr. Liz Simpson (Liz@soarnc.org).