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Children’s behavior modification.

What is Behavior Therapy?

Behavioral therapies for children vary widely, but they all focus primarily on how some problematic thoughts or negative behaviors may unknowingly or unintentionally get “rewarded” within a young person’s environment.

These rewards or reinforcements often contribute to an increase in the frequency of these undesirable thoughts and behaviors. Behavior therapies can be applied to a wide range of psychological symptoms among  children.

Although behavioral therapies can vary substantially from disorder to disorder, a common thread is that behavioral therapists encourage children to try new behaviors, reward desired behaviors, and to allow unwanted behaviors to “extinguish” (that is, ignore unwanted behaviors).

In behavior therapy, parents and children learn to promote desirable behaviors and reduce unwanted behaviors.

Types of Behavioral Therapies.

1. Behavioral Classroom Management.

Behavioral classroom management is a type of evidence-based therapy designed to support students’ positive behaviors in the classroom, while preventing negative behaviors, and increasing student academic engagement. In this type of therapy, the child’s teacher participates in delivering the treatment. Behavioral classroom management has received substantial empirical support as an effective therapy in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

2. Behavioral Peer Interventions.

Behavioral peer interventions involve one or more of a student’s peers providing assistance to the child with behavioral problems. A teacher will train a child’s peers to reinforce the child’s positive behaviors and academic performance with social and academic support strategies. This kind of therapy is often used in the school setting and has been shown to provide many benefits to academic, social, and interpersonal development.

Behavioral peer interventions have been proven by science to be effective in treating ADHD.

There are a variety of peer-based behavioral interventions, including:

▪️ Peer modeling.

▪️ Peer initiation training.

▪️ Classroom-wide tutoring.

3. Behavioral Parent Training.

Behavioral parent training was developed to teach parents how to reinforce desirable behaviors in their children, discourage unwanted behaviors, and improve parent-child interactions. In this form of therapy, the parents play a significant role in treating their children’s behavior problems.

During the therapy sessions, parents learn how to carefully observe their children’s behaviors at home and are taught skills to reward their children’s positive behaviors by using praise, positive attention, and rewards. They are also taught to use rule-setting, time-out, and ignoring to discourage bad behaviors.

4. Combined Behavioral Management Interventions.

Research has found that combining forms of behavioral classroom management, behavioral parent training, and/or behavioral peer interventions are well-established and effective for treating ADHD.

5. Modeling.

Modeling is a form of therapy in which a therapist demonstrates a non-fearful response to a negative situation in order to promote imitation in the child or adolescent. It has been proven to be effective in treating anxiety in children and adolescents.

How Does Behavior Therapy Work?

behavior therapy — a series of techniques to improve parenting skills and a child’s behavior.  But how does behavioral therapy work?

Behavior therapy operates on a simple premise:

Parents and other adults in a child’s life set clear expectations for their child’s behavior.

They praise and reward positive behavior and discourage negative behavior.

All behavior therapy programs should include four principles,” says Swanson:

1) Reinforce good behavior with a reward system — stars on a chart or extending a special privilege, like playing a favorite video game for an extra half-hour.

2) Discourage negative behavior by ignoring it — according to experts, a child often uses bad behavior to get attention.

3) Take away a privilege if the negative behavior is too serious to ignore.

4) Remove common triggers of bad behavior.

Determining whether or not your child is experiencing depression or anxiety can be tough. Trying to understand if their tantrums are typical or unusual is also a difficult task.

So, how do you know when your child’s behaviors warrant therapy and what type of therapy they need?

Depression can appear in many forms, such as regular irritability, loss of interest in activities, changes in eating and sleep patterns and thoughts of death and/or suicide.

Anxiety is considered excessive when it gets in the way and causes problems in daily life. And, if your child struggles with intense emotional reactions, disruptions in mood or behavior, or is easily set off by minor triggers, then they may need assistance.

_Behavior Therapy for Children with ADHD.

1. Keep your child on a daily schedule.

Try to keep the time that your child wakes up, eats, bathes, leaves for school, and goes to sleep the same each day.

2. Cut down on distractions.

Loud music, computer games, and TV can be overstimulating to your child.

3. Don’t place a TV in your child’s bedroom.

4. Organize your house.

If your child has specific and logical places to keep his schoolwork, toys, and clothes, he is less likely to lose them.

5.Reward positive behavior.

Offer kind words, hugs, or small prizes for reaching goals in a timely manner or good behavior.

6. Find activities at which your child can succeed.

All children need to experience success to feel good about themselves.

7. Physical punishment, such as spanking or slapping, is not helpful.

Discuss your child’s behavior with him when both of you are calm.

References :

Steven W. Evans (18/5/2019), “Behavior Therapy”، effectivechildtherapy

LAURA MCCARTHY (18/5/2019), “How Does Behavior Therapy Work?”، additudemag

Gia Miller (18/5/2019), “Does Your Child Need Behavioral Therapy? How to Tell and What to Do”، rileychildrens

Colleen Kraf (18/5/2019), “Behavior Therapy for Children with ADHD”، healthychildren

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