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Children today are under enormous pressures rarely experienced by their parents or grandparents. Many of today's children are being enticed to grow up too quickly and are encountering challenges for which they are totally unprepared.

Setting limits teaches your children valuable skills they will use the rest of their lives. One day, they will report to a job where their ability to follow rules will dictate their success.

"Moody" and "unpredictable" are adjectives parents will often use when referring to their teenagers.

Some hope their children will be like sponges soaking up the truth and wisdom imparted by their parents. However appealing this philosophy might be, it seldom seems to catch on with their children.

A tantruming toddler is a little ball of writhing muscle and incredible strength. It's like trying to carry a greased pig past a slop bucket.

Early intervention is always better than crisis management - but it is never too late to do the right thing.

Being a parent of a teenager can cure a person of narcissism.

Children mimic well. They catch what they see better than they follow what they hear.

The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice. (Peggy O'Mara)

Relationships matter:  change comes through forming trusting relationships. People, not programs change people.

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The “Skills Acquisition” Approach

The skills acquisition approach assumes that the source of the behaviour problems lie in a skills deficit. This means that the child cannot do something or doesn’t know something that directly leads into an inappropriate behaviour. The skills acquisition people state that once the child learns the missing skill, the undesirable behaviors will fade away, therefore the solution lies in determining what skill(s) is lacking and developing a plan to teach it.

An obvious example would be a child with a developmental disability who cannot talk. The inability to express his needs and wants leads to frustration and “acting out” behaviors. The solution then would be to teach the child the skill he is lacking or give him a compensatory skill (ie. sign language, picture symbols, computer, etc.) and the need to act out will decrease because his new communication skill(s) is providing a vehicle to work out his frustrations.

Programs such as “anger management” and “social skills training” are also examples of the skills acquisition category. Most children learn social skills in their normal everyday interactions with their family, friends and classmates. This usually happens without any special treatment beyond the regular routines and lessons of life. Some children, for a myriad of reasons do not acquire these social skills in the usual way resulting in a need to present them in alternate forms. A trained therapist may meet with a small group of children and attempt to teach appropriate social interaction by “role playing”, “videos”, “puppets”, “group discussions”, etc. The hope is that the child will be able to transfer the skills presented and practiced in the therapy sessions into his home, school and community and the problem behaviors will decrease.

Undoubtedly some children are able to make the leap from the therapy  room to the real word and their behaviour improves. It has been my observation however, that a sizable number do not transfer the skills into the real world as fast as we would like and their behaviour continues to cause concern.

As with the other approaches, the skills acquisition approach is not a universal solution to all children’s behaviour problems.

Next posting – the Behavioural approach

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Workshops

+ Behaviour Management

This full day or 2 evening workshop will introduce you […]

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+ Lick Your Kids

  “Lick Your Kids” (figuratively not literally) (2 hours) First […]

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+ A Parent’s Guide to the Teenage Brain

  A teenager’s brain is not just an adult brain […]

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+ Reading Rescue

A program for children with reading problems

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+ Taming a Toddler

Many parents wonder what hit them when their sweet little baby turns into an unreasonable toddler – ideas for dealing with mealtime, bedtime, temper tanturms, toilet training, noncompliance, etc.

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NOL 2BO

Phone: (519) 485-4678
Fax: (519) 485-0281

Email: info@rickharper.ca

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