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Behavior Modification

Behavior modification treatment can be helpful for all ages. Find common behavior modification methods for behavior disorders or common conduct disorders. Get help for child, teen, or adult struggling with behavior problems including cutting, ODD, aggressive behavior and more.

For every behavior disorder that a child, teen or adult has, there is usually a type of behavior modification that can be used to help cope with or solve the problem.  Some behavior modification ideas are drastic, some are common sense.  It is clear that the answers are not a one size fits all.  Always consult with your family doctor or other medical professional before beginning any type of treatment or lifestyle change in regards to these disorders.

Here we will list a few of the methods used for behavior modification.  This list is in no way comprehensive, it is just to give a general idea of what can be done.

Cutting:  The first thing to do if a parent suspects that a child is cutting is to ask the child.  The child may be very relieved to have someone to talk to.  It is important for your child to feel that you accept them unconditionally but to know that you are concerned.  It is key that the child feels the concern you have without the judgment.  It is important to let the child know that you will help them in whatever possible way and that they need to see a mental health professional right away.  Once the mental health professional meets with the child and gets a good idea of what the issues are they can help you come up with a family plan on how to help the child with behavior modification.

Lying:  There are parents who may believe that children grow out of this.  This can be a dangerous attitude.  In this world lying is unacceptable.  A child needs to know that there is zero tolerance.  Privileges should be removed.  This could mean that you may have to take everything away from your child, that really means everything.  You may have to remove all furniture items including the bed and have the child earn these things back.  Trust is a serious issue and the sooner that you take a stand the better off the child will be.  If you develop a trusting individual you make their lives easier in every way including relationships and careers.  As with most discipline, this can be harder for the parent than the child but it is worth it.  As with all behavior modification treatments you should discuss this with a mental health professional.

Stealing:  As we covered in another article, the innate urge to steal is a very rare disorder.  Most people do this for other reasons.  Since we covered those in the Behavior Disorders article we will not go into depth here.  It is key that a parent hold a child responsible.  If this means that your child gets arrested, let them pay that consequence.  Natural consequences are great teachers.  If the stealing is done alongside other things like lying or aggression you need to speak with a mental health professional and seek the best behavior modification treatment and possibly the idea of a boarding school that may help the child break the habits.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder:  This hard to diagnose disorder is a tough thing for parents to conquer.  It involves serious commitment and consistent follow through.  The Mayo Clinic suggests the following list for improving your parenting skills to better deal with ODD and behavior modification.

  • Give effective time outs
  • Avoid power struggles
  • Remain calm and unemotional in the face of opposition
  • Recognize and praise your child's good behaviors and positive characteristics
  • Offer acceptable choices to your child, giving him or her a certain amount of control
  • Establish a schedule for the family that includes specific meals that are to be eaten at home together, and specific activities one or both parents will do with the child.
  • Limit consequences to those can be consistently reinforced and if possible, last for a limited amount of time.
  • Many families need family therapy to achieve behavior modification for ODD as well as the individual therapy for the child in need.

Aggressive Behavior:  A study done by the Education Resources Information Center showed that the "The most commonly used treatments were functional communication training and differential reinforcement of other behavior."  Aggressive behavior is naturally a tough disorder to deal with.  Some parents have found that in addition to their discipline (quite like the discipline needed for ODD), some children respond to relaxing activities such as massage.  Things such as massage can have an effect on brain waves and the chemicals that the body releases thus, changing the mood or chemical make up of the child in a natural way.  Exercise has also been effective in behavior modification for those with agressive behavior.

As a closing note, please check with your primary care physician and mental health professionals regarding any type of behavior modification. These professionals have so much to offer and are really invaluable for your family if you are dealing with any of these problems or other mental health issues.  Use all the resources available to you.

Related Article: Behavior Disorder Treatment >>

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