Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I was reading Applied Behavior Analysis, 2nd edition, Cooper, Heron & Heward, and some concepts in the chapter about “Self-Management” caught my attention. Here are some passages I would like to share with you.
“The ultimate goal of behavior management is to develop independent, self-directed people capable of behaving appropriately without the supervision of others.”
“Self-management is an ultimate goal of education.”
In 1974 Skinner wrote about self-control: “When a man free to do whatever he wants controls himself and chooses the right course of action, he is behaving”.
“Self-management is simply behavior that a person emits to influence another behavior. It is the personal application of behavior change tactics to produce a desired change in behavior.”
“Self-management can help a person be more effective in his daily life, replace bad habits with good ones and achieve personal goals.”
“People with self-management skills are more likely to fulfill their potential and make greater contributions to society.” 

As we teach our kids effective life skills, they become more responsible, develop independence, and learn how to solve problems.  Have this in mind when you are working on managing behaviors. Rather than reacting out of frustration yelling, punishing, focusing your energy on “the bad” you want to teach children what to do instead, reward good behaviors, build behavior repertoires your children will be able to use in the future in order to be be successful.
The way you manage the hassles of life sets the best example for kids. Children will do as you DO, not as you SAY. For example, of you throw a tantrum when something doesn’t go your way, do not be surprised if your little ones react in the same way. You can teach them that lying is not OK but then if you lie (“tell them I’m not home,”) or don’t fulfill a promise (“I know I told you we are going to Disneyland today, but I’m so tired. Let’s leave it for another weekend”) that is what they learn.

Providing children with choices and the opportunity to make decisions, when appropriate, is another good idea when teaching self-control. Tell them the difference between right and wrong and then let them decide. Again, model the decision making process by sharing with them why you made this or that decision. You can also read books to them or tell them stories of real life people who make the right choice.    
Self-management should be your ultimate goal.

 “The goal of parents is not to control their children but to teach their children to control themselves while building their self-esteem.”

                                                                                         - Janet Hackleman

Daniel Adatto, BCBA

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