Parenting can be a daunting task at times, especially during the teenage years. Patience, love, and sound parenting skills should all be used as children continue to get older. At times, however, even the most loving parents may have a hard time getting through to their teenagers. Behavior Modification is defined as therapy as the use of rewards or punishments to reduce or eliminate problematic behavior. Teen Behavior Modification can be very useful in helping teens deal with or even eliminate difficult behavior problems.
The first steps or actions to take in Behavior Modification is to observe the teenager before, during, and after they present a certain behavior. After considering what happens during each stage of the behavior, parents can then start targeting different behaviors with different techniques. Let’s look at an example. A teenager is consistently breaking curfew and comes home late when he/she is out with friends. The parents try grounding the teenager, but this is only making the teenager attitudinal and unkind to the rest of the family. The parents could turn to behavior modification techniques to help solve the curfew issue. First, what is happening before the teenager comes home late? Most likely, the teen is having a good time with friends, and simply doesn’t want to come home yet. Or, perhaps none of the other teens have a curfew, therefore making it hard for the teenagers with a curfew to come home on time. These are just some of the factors as to why the teenager may be coming home late and breaking curfew.
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In observing the second stage, (the “during” stage), parents may find that the teen knows they are to be home, but once they are late, they are going to be grounded anyway, so they might as well continue to stay out late for the night. Lastly, the parents may observe that after the teenager is home (and grounded), he/she is angry with the parents and thinks curfews are pointless. In the end, everyone is upset and unhappy Behavior modification could help in this way: First, parents could talk with the other parents and decide on a curfew for all of their teenagers, making it easier for the teenagers to comply with the curfew rule.
Next, while the teenager is out with friends and the curfew is approaching, parents should gently remind their teenager (with a phone call or text message) that it is almost time to come home. Finally, instead of a punishment for bad behavior, parents could instead reward the good behavior. So if the teenager comes home on time, they are rewarded. Rewards could be extra allowance, less chores, or even extending curfew if the teenager proves him/herself over time. Above all, a teenager should know that there parents are always there for them, even in difficult situations. An important part to successful behavior modification is to keep the lines of communication open between parents and teenagers.