Most parents will tell you that no adolescent will make it all the way through childhood without hitting some walls with behavior, regardless of whether or not they have any mental health concerns.
Learning to manage and change behavior seems impossible in the midst of adolescents’ meltdowns or teens’ dramatic disappearing acts, but there are actually well-researched strategies you and your family can use to modify unwanted behavior. A good adolescents’ therapist or behavior modification specialist in Toledo can provide the best in-home therapy options for your family. Contact Beyond Healthcare by calling 833.698.0453.
Can I Use Behavior Modification at Home?
The short answer is yes; there are basic behavioral techniques that you can master and use in a variety of situations, with both adolescents and teens.
But it is good to know your limits, especially if you are the parent of an adolescent that has a diagnosed mental health disorder. If the situation seems unmanageable, it might be time to get professional help with behavior modification therapy.
If you are attempting at-home behavior modification, you need to start by being very careful how you define the unwanted behavior: it is always better to be specific and avoid vague, general warnings to the adolescent that might be confusing. For example, “getting moody” is too hard to observe and measure in a fair way, but “turning your head away when I talk” is a much easier place to start. Next, identify the ABCs of the behavior:
This basically means triggers. What situations or places are likely to bring out the unwanted behavior in the adolescent? This could be hunger, fatigue, or loud and unruly places. Once you know these well, your strategies will work much better.
This is the core unwanted reaction to the antecedent, as you carefully identified and defined.
This is the positive or negative outcome that results from the behavior. However you decide to act, either with positive or negative reinforcement, make sure that you are consistent and transparent with your adolescent on this.
Generally, positive consequences are the most effective. That means that if you have identified and discussed unwanted behaviors with your adolescent, you should also identify and reward the polar opposite. Over time, doing the right thing becomes a habit.
These are some basic pointers you should consider when designing a system like this:
- All expectations should be clearly discussed and understood — You need to meet your adolescent where they are, using language and incentives that they will feel invested in.
- Pay close attention to antecedents to get ahead of the unwanted behavior. Over time, you will start removing distractions during homework time, slowing things down as mealtime draws near, and changing many other small variables in your home’s environment before the eruptions occur.
- Give them agency — As they improve (and grow older), it is important that your adolescent feels like they have meaningful choices. Whether or not your teen gets to play strategy games for an hour or ride bikes with a friend may seem inconsequential to you, but they will feel more invested in their behavior.
After reading this, you may roll your eyes, knowing that there is no way this will work with your adolescent. That’s okay, you may be right.
Beyond Healthcare Can Support Your Whole Family with Behavior Modification Therapy and More
Working with the emotions and fears of adolescents can seem impossible. Beyond Healthcare is here to help. At our center in Toledo, Ohio, we have a well-trained team of healthcare professionals that specialize in behavior modification therapy for adolescents and teens aged 11-17. Our evidence-based, holistic programs are specifically tailored for each of our learners.
We know how to support your whole family to treat chronic emotional regulation issues. Some of the tools we use include:
We also provide support networks with other families, alumni, and professionals. To learn more about our Community Connections program, have a look here.
Reach Out to Beyond Healthcare For the Support Your Family Deserves
Call us at 833.698.0453 and ask about how we can tailor a program to help you. Don’t feel like you and those you love are alone. We’re here to help.
We accept both Medicaid and private insurance.