The ABCs of behaviour [can apply to children & adolescents]

The ABCs of behaviour [can apply to children & adolescents]

– a – antecedent (Or activating event – what happens right before, & leads to, a behaviour)
– This can pretty much be anything, including:
– a Situation (a Sibling may have taken a toy away from them)
– a Feeling
– The time of day (Feeling tired, hungry)

– b – Behaviours
– Any kind of behaviour that the child does (Tantrum; Refusal to do what is requested)

– c – Consequences / Outcome
– What happens right after the behaviour
– Consequence may not be directly related to the behaviour
– It is not necessarily a punishment
– such things may include:
– Getting your attention
– Being separated from their sibling
– The parent coming in to defend them

[Note: We are reviewing the ABCs to see, that as a result of a bad behaviour, that the child may be being inadvertently rewarded, as a consequence for the bad behaviour]
[note: there may also be a punishing consequence, but what we are primarily looking for is inadvertent rewards/reinforcers for “bad”/negative behaviour]
[note: There may be multiple antecedents and multiple consequences going on all at the same time]

– parents may work on eliminating antecedents (anticipating & removing difficult situations – this is not wholly ideal), while the aim of the exercise is to actually focus upon identifying positive consequences (for the child) as a result of the negative behaviour

– consequences – you have direct control over & can change
– this does not necessarily mean imposing a punishment, but means removing the reward
– for e.g. Riding out the temper tantrum & ignoring it,
– instead, define expectations – positive things the child can do to get your attention

– when you do the exercise of ABCs, it is worth doing for positive behaviour so the child can see/experience labelled praise when they engage in behaviour you like/would like to see more of, thereby further leading to future increases in that behaviour [this increases positive consequences for positive behaviour]
– punishments are not as useful, & become less effective over time
– brief, strategic use of time-outs

ABCs can apply to adolescent/your own thought behaviours
– for e.g. Feeling anxious & what happens immediately before & after
– changing the consequence of anxiety through deep breathing

– can apply to different thought patterns
– this is the behaviourist approach

Source: Child psychology podcast | Podcast date: 27 January 2016


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