In Part 1 of this series, we outlined the general purpose of negative behaviour. Now, we focus on how to figure out what’s specifically triggering your child.
Chart the ABCs
Before you can remedy tough behaviour, you have to get to the root of it. What’s firing up Polly or Peter? To find out, it’s a good idea to document the particulars of your child’s outbursts for at least a week. Here’s how to set up and record on an ABC (antecedent, behaviour, consequence) chart:
Setting Event: Jot down the day and time along with notables that could make your child more vulnerable to melt downs, such as being hungry, tired or teased.
Antecedent: Note the tantrum trigger, such as a certain request, being around a non-preferred person, changes in schedule, exposure to undesirable stimuli (ie: sounds or sights) or visiting a new place.
Behaviour: Record specifics of the behaviour, such as biting, hitting, screaming and destructive behaviour.
Consequence: Outline how you or someone else reacted to this behaviour. Did you give your child a preferred edible treat, game or video to help soothe them? Did you clean up the spilled cereal and give them something different to eat? What, if anything, did you say to them? Also note how your child responds to your actions.
Once you have collected at least a week’s worth of outburst ‘data,’ you should have an idea of what’s causing your child to explode. Your next step is to determine under which category(s) (escape, attention, tangible, sensory) their antecedents/triggers fall.
Next week, we’ll have the strategies you need to help tame negative behaviours. Stay tuned!
Photography: Prawny/dreamstime.com – tantrum kid