If you read the last post, you know the Squeaker’s behavior has challenged us lately. I’ve really been at my wit’s end racking my brain trying to figure it out. After carefully analyzing the situation at home, I used my teacher brain to construct a hypothesis for the function of my son’s behavior and what might help change the current behavior patterns. I tried to use an adapted A-B-C model to figure this out (Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence Model). I sort of came up with this:
|Mom is playing with brother||Squeaker runs over and hits mom||Squeaker loses tablet (also gets attention)||Wants attention, doesn’t communicate|
|Squeaker is playing with mom, then mom gets up to do something else.||Squeaker kicks mom||Squeaker gets sent to room||Wants attention, doesn’t communicate|
|Squeaker is frustrated with his game||Squeaker hits dad||Squeaker is admonished for hitting, loses tablet, then hits mom||Needs help, doesn’t know how to communicate|
Every single time he hits, kicks, pushes, etc., he needs something, but does not use his voice to communicate the need. Usually, the need is attention. Unfortunately, he wants that 100% of the time and he wants the attention only focused on him.
We have things to work on.
I’m doing a lot of thinking lately about how to change this behavior.
First of all, he needs to know that hitting and kicking is not acceptable. He has disrespected me (usually me) and that I will not stay in his presence and give him attention when he hurts me. The only way to get my attention is to communicate in words respectfully. He does not hit people outside of the home when he needs things, so he can accomplish this objective. I began this communication last night by telling him that I no longer wished to stay in the room with him when he hurt me and then leaving the room. Since he just wanted attention and I took that away from him while also communicating to him what he did wrong, this proved effective. Not only did he apologize, but his behavior turned around quickly.
Secondly, he needs to learn that he cannot monopolize all of the attention in the house. I plan to get a visual timer and slowly increase the increments of time that he cannot interact with me since I am the preferred adult in the house. During those times, I will come up with other activities that he can enjoy on his own. He needs to learn how to entertain himself. Eventually, he needs to learn how to play nicely with his brother for extended periods of time (every mom’s dream). Maybe eventually I will enjoy other activities like cooking and cleaning while both children reside in the home with me alone.
Finally, we need to give him a toolbox of strategies for calming himself down when frustrated. I’ve already loaded his BeCalm headset with songs that he likes. Hopefully that helps some. I plan to get his closet, which is a bit larger than most closets, set up as a small sensory room for him. We’ll get it all sorted out somehow.
I’m also giving him incentives for choosing positive behaviors instead of negative behaviors. He gets incentives for doing chores already, so I figured I would offer him $0.25 for not hurting anyone all day and he’d lose $0.05 each time he hurt someone until that money diminished to nothing. Unfortunately, he lost all of it yesterday. His money buys him his cars and things like that, so he only prevents himself from getting what he wants.
I will say, though, that the loss of money made him cry yesterday, but the loss of Mommy absolutely changed his behavior, so I think we’re on the right track. I feel like he was all full of sweetness and kisses last night. I actually came back out and did homework with him and he cooperated. He ate dinner. We had a calm evening, and he went to bed nicely. knock on wood We may have this thing figured out. Please, Lord, let me be right.