Why does my child do the things they do?

Why does my child do the things they do?

That is the question you should ask yourself every time your child does a behavior that you want to increase or decrease.

Children do things for a reason.

Everything that a person does is a behavior. Behavior has a function, meaning we do things to get a particular response or consequence.

In order to change a behavior, you must first know why the child is displaying the behavior. There are 4 main reasons children behave the way they do:

  • To gain attention from others or to gain access to an item or activity
  • To escape an undesired item, activity, or person
  • Self-stimulation, which is a behavior that provides automatic reinforcement
  • To communicate, especially children with limited communication skills

Once you determine the function of the behavior, teach the child a more appropriate way to get the same response. This is also known as teaching a replacement behavior. Provide positive reinforcement every time the appropriate behavior is displayed.

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