Behavioral modification is not achieved through violence. All parents and teachers must be clear that violence has no place in education. Violence as a disciplinary measure is useless since it only harms the child’s development. Behavior modification is only achieved through “clear rules” that help children get to know each other better, understand what is expected of them, and what they can or can not do.
The first behavior modification technique is very simple and easy to apply. “Time out” is a technique that can be applied to modify many behaviors. The essence of this technique is to move the child to a place that lacks positive stimulation him/her, a place where he/she does not have games or company with which he/she can entertain. It is not about looking for a hostile site, but a place that is boring. We must get him to be in that place he does not like for a period of time.
This behavior modification technique is very simple, but it has a very important factor that must be considered, and it is the time that the child must be in the “time out” situation. The time must be proportional to the age of the child, therefore, each year that the child has will be added a minute, which comes to be, in children of 5 years, 5 minutes in “time out”. This data is very important because if it is not done in this way, the technique can be aversive for the child, and therefore, may not have the benefits we want. The age of the child’s development plays a large role in the child’s behavior. Discover the stages of the child’s development.
Another important technique, but one that is not usually applied correctly, is “extinction”. This behavioral modification technique consists in suppressing the rewards that the little one expects to achieve with his behavior. Most of us pay attention to transgressions, it is something that is hard for us to ignore, and the little ones know it and use it to their advantage. If our son answers us wrong he gets our attention: we start a discussion, we try to give explanations, make him come to his senses and convince him… The technique of extinction consists of eliminating everything that reinforces the unwanted behavior of the child.
For example, a child who is emotionally blackmailing his mother to avoid going to school with comments like “You take me to school to get rid of me”, “Do not you want me to spend time with you?”, Etc … In this On occasion, we would apply the behavior extinction technique, substituting those comments for something rewarding. An appropriate practice would be, for example, to ask the child about his favorite cartoons, ignoring the comment that the child had made previously. To act as if we had not listened to him and we wanted to start a conversation with him.
In “extinction” it is very important that a rewarding substitute always appears, because if this technique is carried out without being accompanied by a positive stimulus, the child may feel ignored, negatively affecting his emotions.
Another very useful technique, as well as practice, and that can be applied to various areas, is the “modeling”. This consist in to imitate the other person doing exactly what she has done. Here the mirror neurons take great importance.
A useful example in which we can use this behavioral modification technique is when teaching the child a new skill, such as, for example, setting the table. First, the mother or father should perform the task explaining each step, from putting the tablecloth to sitting down and waiting for the food. To do this, you must explain it to the child in the most didactic way possible so that he/she can pay attention.
For example, a child who likes cartoons about superheroes can imagine that each element that he places on the table (glasses, cutlery, napkins …) is a superhero that is going to meet the base (the table) with the rest of his friends. The parents should put the same impetus that the child would put on to make it more entertaining. Once the father or mother who has done the modeling is done, he must collect everything he had set and let the child repeat it now without help.
If the child is wrong in something it is good not to reprimand him and wait to see if the next time he remembers what he had not done well before.
We have tried these techniques for dozens of years working at summer camps or even in our shelter.
Today many children will return to our shelter from school knowing that there will be a staff waiting to guide them through assisted homework, a meal will be served and the will rest on their beds assured that The Salvation Army will be always there for them. But we need help to keep doing what we have done for more than 100 years in Memphis… Changing lives