Tag Archives: self harm

Fishing For Appropriate Consequences

12 Feb

Why does one child ask nicely for something he wants while another child will tantrum for something he wants?

CONSEQUENCES

A consequence is what follows a behavior. It is these consequences that will increase or decrease the occurrence of a behavior.

HERE IS AN EXAMPLE:
Johnny wants the Swedish Fish candy that Daddy left on top of the refrigerator. Johnny asks Mommy for “fish” but Mommy is unaware that this candy is on top of the refrigerator. When Johnny is denied the candy he starts to scream and cry. This behavior still does not get Mommy to give him the candy.

Johnny takes it to the next level and begins to slap himself. Mommy provides attention for this behavior because she is concerned. She attempts to comfort Johnny who is now in a full rage. Comfort is not what he wants. He turns and bites his Mom.

Dad hearing the commotion, enters the kitchen and questions why Johnny is upset. Mom states that he wants “fish” but she doesn’t have any candy in the house. It is at this point that Dad takes the “Swedish Fish” down from the refrigerator and offers a handful of candy to Johnny, thankful he is calming down. That’s where the mistake happened!

Weeks later, Mom and Dad question why Johnny seems to tantrum and bite almost every time he wants something.

BEHAVIOR BREAKDOWN:

What happen before the behavior Johnny asks for candy and is denied
The Behavior Johnny tantrums
The Consequence Dad gives Johnny the candy

Tip:

1. When giving a child something he wants, attempt to deliver the item or activity with the occurrence of good behavior versus negative behavior.

2. Do not give into tantrum behavior if you want to prevent it from increase.
What should have happened: Mom and Dad waited for Johnny to calm down. Once calm, they asked Johnny what he wanted and prompted him to request using his words again. The swedish fish candy are now delivered paired with asking and not a tantrum or biting.

Scolded Fish

This fish gets a consequence for his bad behavior!