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If you are headed in the wrong direction as a parent - you are allowed to make a U-turn.

"The thing that impresses me most about North America is the way parents obey their children"    (King Edward VII , 1841-1910)

The quickest way to change your child’s behaviour is to first change your own.

Wouldn't it be nice if children would simply listen and learn.

Adolescence can be the cruelest place on earth. It can really be heartless.  ( Tori Amos)

Simple rules adhered to when children are young can prevent more serious problems later.

"Cutting" is a visible sign to the world that you are hurting.

We should not medicate the boys so they fit the school; we should change the school to fit the boy. (Leonard Sax, M.D. Ph.D)

It is what we say and do when we're angry that creates the very model our children will follow when dealing with their own frustrations.

If you (parents) tend to overreact to your child's misbehaviour - your child learns that he can't trust you. Mom, Dad, stay regulated!

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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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2720 Rath Street, Putnam, Ontario
NOL 2BO

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

Email: info@rickharper.ca

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Parents' Comments

“We are foster parents who took in a 13 year old girl (going on 18!) and she ran us through the wringer. Rick helped us learn how to set limits that made the difference.”

(G.E. – Strathroy)