Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Our (Current) Outlook on Dealing with Behavior

I’m often asked how we deal with behavior.  Let me start with-- we do not have “well behaved angels” with Down syndrome.  No, we have REAL people, REAL CHILDREN, REAL issues, REAL past hurts, and REAL trauma that we deal with around here.  That means REAL behavior issues.  For REAL!  So, when someone stops and tells me “your children are so well behaved!” I just might be jumping up and down inside.  Because we are SURVIVING!  It means that at that moment, no one is actively going nuts on me :D.  It’s a ‘win’!

Also, let me start off by saying that we are PARENTS.  We aren’t professionals.  Michael’s Master’s degree is in Organizational Leadership, not behavior management, and my Bachelor’s degree is in Education, not psychiatry (though I did minor in psychology! ;) ).  We don’t claim to have all the answers, don’t claim to do everything right.  We struggle through and are learning all the time!  We find something that works for one kid, for one month, then find out they’re no longer responding to it, meanwhile we have another kid it never worked for that something different did!  It’s a constant cycle of learning.  That’s why this list is far from exhaustive.  We are learning and trying new things ALL THE TIME.

We believe strongly that behavior is 2 things: Indicative of communication, and needing to be directly molded to be as appropriate as possible.

How we accomplish that is also a two-fold approach.  One is dealing with the behavior at hand, and the other is dealing with whatever it is communicating-- which can both work us through the behavioral challenge and help us to avoid it in the future.

None of this is anything spectacular or new, but it is sometimes just a reminder of what we already know that prompts us to be able to more effectively deal with behavioral challenges.  We don’t pretend to have all of the answers, and we are regularly met with behavioral challenges in all areas of life, so we are a definite work in progress!  I wrote this simply to share where we are at right now and to put it into one place.  

Remember, the ADULT behavior is also communication, and the adult’s response to the child is going to play a role in whether they want to repeat the non-compliant behavior in the future.

When met with a behavioral issue with a child, there are some initial things to keep in mind: