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Controlling Your Child’s Misbehavior
When a child constantly acts out, fights with their siblings, lies, throws temper tantrums or refuses to do their school work, you may need to try some behavior modification techniques. Homeschooling a child with behavior problems can be extremely challenging for parents.
Behavior modification strategies are intended to replace the child’s inappropriate behavior with appropriate behavior. Before a curriculum can be established the parent should talk to the child about the child's behavior and explain what and why it needs to be changed. Model appropriate behavior; use a calm voice when disciplining your child. Never discipline out of anger. Sometimes this involves taking a deep breath and calming down before addressing the issue.
A great resource to supplement your own efforts is a book called, Discipline Quietly by, Marion Stuart. The techniques Stuart provides will help you to be successful.
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Rewards and Consequences
When creating a behavior management plan focus on the behaviors that need changed. Make sure the child understands the exact behaviors that will not be tolerated. Be very specific. For example when your child hits, tell the child that hitting is inappropriate; make sure the child understands that they are not bad but rather their behavior. Children who hit usually do not know how to express their feelings in words. After the child has calmed down, ask him what the matter is. This will teach him or her that using words is better than using hands.
Create a reward system for appropriate behavior together letting the child have some input. Stickers, tokens or poker chips may be used. Whatever is agreed upon, make sure the child knows what the reward will be and how many chips or stickers they will need to reach their goal. Catch the child making good choices such as doing their school work and staying on task and then praise and reward them. Sometimes parents unintentionally fail to recognize the good and focus on the bad behavior. If a child never reaches a reward or goal they will eventually stop trying. For this reason recognizing appropriate behavior is extremely important. When the chart is full of stickers or they have so many poker chips they will receive the reward. The reward can be, but doesn’t have to involve a material object. It can be as simple as spending alone time with mom, playing a game together, going to the park, anything the child looks forward to enough to work for it.
When a child displays inappropriate behavior they receive a consequence for their action that the caregiver will determine. It must be a direct consequence to the misbehavior in order to be effective. For instance, if the child throws a glass of milk on the floor, the consequence is helping to clean the mess. If they call a name, should to write an apology letter or apologize for what was said. Negative consequences are never to be given out of anger or spite. The consequence must always be consistent. Sometimes parents will discipline for the behavior one time and let the behavior go unnoticed the next. This is confusing for the child.
In addition to consistency children need and even long for structure and routine in their lives. Parents can make schedules. Schedules allow the child some control over their environment and make them aware of what is expected of them. Routine helps the child stay on task. If a child is allowed to do school work one day and not the next or made to go to bed at 9:00 one night and midnight the next, they will be more apt to throw a tantrum to stay up late or get out of doing lessons one day. With a routine they know what they have to do and when they are expected to do it. Routine establishes good behavior.
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Online Resources for Caregivers
There are several online resources to help parents deal with out of control children. Universal Class offers a self-paced course that offers behavior management strategies for parents. Parents learn how to successfully implement an individual program for their child. The cost of the course is $40.
Other sites such as The Corner Stone offers free videos, techniques, ideas and webinars to assist parents with an effective behavior management at home curriculum program. Websites such as Teacher Vision has free printable behavior management forms such as charts, forms, contracts and awards. In addition they have links to books and other curriculum programs that may be purchased online.
Parents can find support through online home school groups for children with behavior disorder. At Difficult Students parents can chat with other parents who are in a similar situation or a therapist for additional support.
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Inappropriate Behavior Continues
If the plan has been used for several months and the child shows no sign of progress it may be time to seek professional help from a child psychologist or therapist. The child may have an underlying problem such as ADHD or bipolar disorder. In this case therapy sessions and sometimes medications are necessary. Discuss the problem with the child’s doctor or pediatrician to get a referral.
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Sometimes the child’s behavior problems diminish after being homeschooled. Occasionally, school is the problem. A child’s environment has a huge impact on their behavior. There are several reasons for misbehavior at school with the majority of behavioral issues centered on peer interactions. A child may be rejected by his classmates and feel unwanted. He or she may lose self-confidence and act out with aggression toward classmates. If they feel like the teacher doesn’t like them, they may become angry and break the rules. On occasion, gifted children may not be challenged enough in school and become bored. Boredom can cause a child to misbehave. If the child is misbehaving at school, try to find out why. A child cannot learn in a place where they do not feel safe and secure. Homeschooling may be a better choice.
If your child has a learning disability or mental disorder that is causing the behavior problems, homeschooling may be the better option. Homeschooling provides several benefits for children with disabilities. Children benefit from one-on-one interaction, which a parent can provide. Parents decide when their child is ready to move forward. Curriculum is centered on the individual as opposed to an entire group.
Parents can join homeschool groups and monitor the child’s social interactions. Most importantly if a child has a severe behavior problem, caregivers can develop a behavior management curriculum and plan to intervene and help the child to become a caring, responsible adult, while getting the professional assistance they need.
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References and Resources
Using a Behavior Management Program At Home,http://www.turnertoys.com/psychology/behavior_management.htm