By Caitlin Young, BCBA
Does he or she argue all the time and refuse to follow rules, leaving you exhausted?
Is he or she getting poor grades, despite high intelligence and capability?
Does he or she have trouble keeping up with self-care skills such as time management, money management, household chores or regular grooming?
Is he or she abusing alcohol or drugs?
Has he or she become more violent, breaking property, running away, skipping school or physically threatening you and other family members?
Is your teen unbearably shy and have trouble maintaining or starting conversations and friendships?
At the Body Image Counseling Center we have helped hundreds of families over the years, and many of them have experienced similar problems with their kids. Unfortunately, these are not problems that most parents want to admit they have with their children, and as a result, they are often ashamed or afraid to ask for help. If you are one of these parents, please know you are not alone! Asking for help is hard, but once you do, these problem behaviors can be eliminated relatively quickly – with the expert help of our Applied Behavior Analyst, Caitlin Young, BCBA.
How Does Behavior Modification Stop Unwanted Behaviors in Children and Teens?
Behavior modification is successfully used to treat a variety of distressing teen problems, including aggression, acting out, eating disorders, and disrespectful attitude. It is especially helpful for troubled teens struggling with substance abuse. Whether your child is struggling with substance abuse, mental health issues, social anxiety or making the right choices, Caitlin can help your family create the positive changes you are desperately seeking in your child – all in the privacy of your own home.
Caitlin will help you learn that using positive reinforcers like praise, encouragement, or being given a privilege (such as getting to use the car, being allowed to have an extended curfew, or not having to do a certain chore) can do wonders in reinforcing good behavior and eradicating bad behavior.
Negative reinforcers such as ignoring yelling or screaming, taking away privileges, such as phones, ipods or car keys can also do a great deal to stop bad behavior.
I can almost hear what you’re saying now: “Wait! We’ve tried those things and they just don’t work.
We’ve taken away the phone, we’ve tried to offer rewards and the changes never last. How will this be different?” Great question! To answer I would ask you to be honest and ask yourselves:
- Have we been consistent with setting limits over the long term?
- Have followed through with consequences EVERY time?
- Have we been firm with the rules despite our child’s attempts to argue and get us to back down?
- Have we consistently stayed positive and rewarded good behavior even when our child tries to push our buttons?
If your answer to some or all of these questions is no, don’t feel bad or think you are an awful parent. It’s extremely difficult to be consistent with a hormonal, energetic and emotional child or teen. That’s why in-home coaching with Caitlin can make such a huge difference in your success with upholding limits with your child and stopping the stress and conflict between you once and for all.
It's Ok to Ask for Guidance
Think about this for a minute – did Michael Jordan, Richard Branson, or Adele achieve such great levels of success without employing coaches and advisors along the way? The same principle applies to parenting. It’s OK to ask for coaching and help to guide your teen to extraordinary behavior. Having an in-home coach will teach you to consistently create a supportive and caring environment that will show your teen the consequences of continued poor choices and help them learn how to make better decisions in the future. In fact, Caitlin can help you and your teen create and follow a written contract that clearly states the terms of the reward system. Most importantly, she’ll support and guide you as parents to stay on track with the plan and not back down.
Here are some of the behaviors Caitlin can help your child develop:
- Engaging in appropriate, non-eating disorder related conversations
- Using eye contact
- Completing chores the first time asked
- Ending sarcasm, arguing and back-talk
- Having courage to talk on the phone
- Engaging in leisure activities with peers
- Meal time interactions (Making meal times more enjoyable and less anxiety-provoking)
Daily living skills:
- Trying new foods
- Cooking meals
- Meal planning for the day/week
- Creating a budget
- Self-care skills
- Cooking meals independently (not relying on others to do so)
- Meal planning
- Grocery shopping independently
- Tolerating being alone without using drugs
- Living independently
- Going to appointments independently
- Getting a part-time job
If you have been at the end of your rope with your child or teen’s behavior, don’t give up. Caitlin can come to your home and coach you on how to stop the conflict and dangerous behaviors rapidly, and also help you and your child feel closer. It’s completely private and confidential. If you would like a free 15 minute phone consult with Caitlin to discuss your child’s specific situation and how she can help, just call us at 904-737-3232 or fill out a confidential appointment request form below.