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Behavior Therapy for Dummies

Behavior Therapy for Dummies

Okay, so I’m the Dummy. But I’m a Dummy with my very own Minka Kelly! Well, okay, not the ACTUAL Minka Kelly. But we have a Behavioral Therapist that works with Chewy just like Minka plays on the show Parenthood. (BTW, LOVE that show!!!)

So “What is Behavior Therapy?” Sir Google to the rescue… says:

Behavior analysis is a scientific approach to understanding behavior and how it is affected by the environment. ?Behavior? refers to all kinds of actions and skills (not just misbehavior), and ?environment? includes all sorts of physical and social events that might change or be changed by one’s behavior. The science of behavior analysis focuses on principles (that is, general laws) about how behavior works, or how learning takes place. For example, one principle of behavior analysis is positive reinforcement: When a behavior is followed by something that is valued (a ?reward?), that behavior is likely to be repeated. Through decades of research, the field of behavior analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may be harmful or that interfere with learning. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the use of those techniques and principles to address socially important problems, and to bring about meaningful behavior change.

So the first step with Mr. Chewbacca here is to get him to stop screaming. He yells about 462 times a day. Most of the time its just a short protest but sometimes it escalates into full blown kickin & screamin. So the idea is if we ignore the screams and praise the good behavior he’ll eventually stop yelling so much. Sounds easy right?!


OMG I’ve just been at this, trying to stop just giving in, only since noon yesterday and I SUCK AT THIS PEOPLE. I’d much rather just give in. Really. It’s way easier. He screams, I give him the cookie. He stops screaming when he gets the cookie.

Behavior Therapy for DummiesBut nope, I have to ignore the screaming, make him do something I want him to do and then when he’s good he gets the cookie. That goes against every fiber of my being! Call me a bad parent, lazy parent, what-have-you, but in my day-to-day dealings with the toddler, it’s easier just to give him the damn cookie.

I shall be strong. I will resist temptation! Today my goal is him only screaming 243 times. He’s got half of that in already since he woke up at 5:30am and decided today was “National Be Pissy Day”.

So… Here is where I ask the interwebz for help. If you have a special needs child who screams/protests, what do you do to change his behavior? Say your kid isn’t special needs, just stubborn as hell, got any tips? Let’s call today “National Help a Mom with a Screaming Headache Day.” 🙂



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