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Behavior Makeover Basics

The Main Things To Remember About Changing Your Kid's Behavior

There are five keys to fixing your child's behavior. These are included in each makeover in this book, but it's important that you recognize them so you can use them any time you attempt a behavior makeover with your kid. Here are those essential five keys:

  1. Target the behavior. The first part is the most important: you must identify the specific bad behavior that is driving everyone crazy. Granted, your kid may be displaying a number of behaviors that need fixing, but it's best to work on improving only one – and never more than two – behaviors at a time. That way, you can develop a much more specific behavior plan to eliminate the bad behavior, and you'll also be more likely to succeed at your makeover efforts. So don't say, "He's not behaving." Instead, narrow your focus so you target the specific behavior you want to eliminate, like: "He's been talking back."

  2. Make a solid makeover plan. Once you have identified the bad behavior, you need a solid makeover plan to stop it. The plan must (1) address your kid's behavior, (2) set out exactly how you will correct it, (3) identify the new behavior to replace it, and (4) describe how you plan to teach it. Plans must be specific to the problem and your child's unique needs. I'll give you all the strategies you need and pose the questions to help you create a precise plan for your kid. All you need to do is follow the steps, and then write your ideas in your Makeover Journal.

  3. Establish a consequence. If your child continues using the misbehavior, the next thing to do is to set a consequence. It must be fair, appropriate to the kid, fit the crime, and be set ahead so your kid is aware of it. Then it must be enforced each time your kid uses the misbehavior. Please review the list and refer to it for each makeover.

  4. Commit to change. Even the best makeover in the world won't work unless you really commit yourself to changing your kid's behavior. And then you must be consistent with your plan so you do succeed.

  5. Extend the commitment to twenty-one days. If you want to eliminate the bad behavior, you must commit to a twenty-one-day trial period. Don't expect to see overnight success; change just doesn't work like that. Behavior change takes a minimum of twenty-one days of repetition, so hang in there. And don't give up until you do see positive change. On the unlikely chance that you do not see change, then review your makeover to be sure you have not overlooked another cause. Also, make sure your expectations are ones your child is capable of. And if the bad behavior still continues, please do consult with a trained professional – pediatrician, counselor, or child psychologist – to help you with your makeover endeavors.


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From No More Misbehavin' by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2003 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.


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