Behavior Makeover Basics

The Ten C's Of Critical Change

You will notice certain recurring techniques in virtually every behavior intervention. They are critical in ensuring the success of each makeover so make sure you use them. I call them the ten C's of Critical Change:

  1. Connect calmly with your child. Any behavior makeover must start by calmly addressing the child. Eliminate any distractions, take a deep breath to get in control, get eye-to-eye, and make sure you have your kid's full attention. Then you can begin.

  2. Clarify your concerns. Don't assume your child understands what he did wrong. Briefly describe the problem, why it troubles you, and what behavior you expect instead – for example: "When you used that tone, it was disrespectful. I expect you to talk respectfully."

  3. Commit together to work on the problem. Emphasize your commitment to work with your kid to help him change. Ideally, you need to be on the same team to succeed.

  4. Coach a new behavior to replace the inappropriate behavior so he knows how to use it successfully. For instance, don't assume your kid knows how you want him to talk. The whine may have become such a habit that he has forgotten how to talk without it. "I don't listen to whines. Listen to how my voice sounds. It's how I want you to ask for something. Now you try it."

  5. Correct misbehavior as soon as it occurs. Don't wait. The moment your kid uses an inappropriate behavior is the time to correct it. Behavior corrections are brief; they describe to the child what he did wrong and show how to correct the action: "I know you were angry, but you may not hit. Next time, tell the person that you are mad and what you want."

  6. Check your kid's progress as you continue the makeover. Alter your plan if needed.

  7. Choose a consequence if the misbehavior continues. It should be reasonable, appropriate to the child and crime, and announced ahead: "If you bite again, you will to go to time-out for five minutes."

  8. Carry out the agreed consequence. In the event there's no change or opposition to the behavior makeover, follow through with the agreed consequence. And do so consistently.

  9. Catch your kid's good behavior efforts. Don't overlook the simplest and often most effective way to change behavior: "That was a respectful voice. That's the kind I listen to. Good job!"

  10. Congratulate your kid's success whenever positive results are confirmed. Change is hard – and especially for kids – so celebrate his efforts. And don't forget to congratulate yourself!

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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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