We know how hard it can be to understand why your child engages in challenging behaviors. Though the reasons are not always straightforward, we can help you begin to understand these reasons by looking for a few different things. Today, we’re going to take a look at what happens right before inappropriate behavior occurs: When we look at what was happening right before, we can sometimes determine what motivated a particular behavior.
Think about some situations in your life when one event indicates that another is about to happen. For example, think of all the ways you may change your behavior when you see your boss, who often gives you extra work, coming toward you. You may quickly veer in another direction, engage a coworker in conversation, answer a nonexistent phone call, or try your hardest to look busy! Your boss approaching you is what happens right before you engage in these behaviors because your boss is probably less likely to give you more work when you do these things. So, in essence, you do these things to get out of doing more work.
Pay attention to what happens right before your child engages in the undesirable behaviors. Was something the child does not like happening or getting ready to happen? Were they engaging in difficult tasks or activities? Was the child being ignored or left alone? Take note of these factors and how often they co-occur with the challenging behaviors.
Be sure to pay attention to any other factors that might be influencing your child’s behavior like amount of sleep, nutritional intake, or potential illnesses. We tend to see higher rates of challenging behavior right before our students come down with illnesses like ear infections, colds, allergies, and stomach bugs.