A Powerful Tool for Emotional Wellness
Parenting is stressful even with the most well-behaved kids. Many common methods of discipline like yelling, time-outs, spanking, grounding, and taking away privileges can backfire, often having a negative emotional effect on the child and the parent. Reacting rather than responding to negative behavior does not teach a child what they should do instead of misbehaving and can actually worsen behaviors over time. Families who find themselves in the same situation over and over again are bound to build up stress and toxic interaction patterns for both parents and kids.
Stressed-out parents stress out their kids, who in turn stress their parents out even more. This vicious cycle can be prevented by knowing how to effectively and gently curb negative behaviors and teach skills that replace them.
Setting up for success
Just like a flower needs proper treatment to grow, children need the right combination of support to learn to manage their emotions. No one blames a flower for failing to grow –perhaps this one needed a little more water and a little less sun. A child who hits might need a little more praise for having “nice hands” and a lot less yelling when they hit, if the reason for hitting is to get someone’s attention.
Behavior therapy is the gardener who helps parents understand what their child is attempting to tell them through misbehavior and how to solve the problem in a lasting way. It is an approach to understanding and changing human behavior that focuses on modifying an individual’s environment to create positive behavior change rather than directly changing the individual from the inside. When a parent changes the way they respond to their child’s behavior, the child’s behavior inevitably changes for the better.
Parenting stress is reduced when parents feel competent, confident, and effective. Simply having a plan for the prevention of and response to challenging behavior can make behavior episodes less stressful. Behavior therapy involves parents from the start, empowering them as change agents.