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A Balancing Act!

Your role as a parent is a balancing act. You’re on the tightrope juggling school vs. home, nutrition vs. treats, play vs. discipline.

And you have something else to manage that many parents don’t understand: being a parent of a child vs. being a parent of a child with special needs.

Sometimes your child has an undesired behavior because, well, they’re a kid.

But other times it’s based on their developmental challenges.

While there is never an excuse for challenging behavior, the difference in origin will effect how you address your child.

It’s a delicate balance! Let’s outline a set of guidelines to assist in making the determination. Having this knowledge can help you to parent more effectively.

  • Consider the location: Does your child have problem behavior in some locations and not others? This is an indicator that the problem behavior is actually a behavior and not connected to their special needs. If your child is an angel at school and a devil at home, consider what may be possible at home. Speak with the classroom teachers to get some ideas of how they address problem behaviors.
     
  • To whom is the behavior directed?: Differentiation of people is another way to identify the root cause of challenges. Does your child eat a great lunch with your babysitter but will not take even one bite with you? Ask your babysitter exactly what they’re doing during their mealtime and integrate that into your own mealtime.
     
  • Think about basic human needs: Being tired or hungry will exaggerate problem behavior and make it worse. If you’re noticing the start to problem behavior, this might be a great time to offer a snack. Offering food at the onset could provide the fuel your child needs and the piece of mind you want.

When you know your small beings actions are strictly from behavioral causes, then the need to address it becomes clearer. Your role as a parent becomes easier with clarity. You will know what you need to address and what you may decide to let go.

Each child is unique and each situation may have its own root cause. Consider your family and see how you can apply these guidelines to your small being.

For more help with behavior visit grab these free resources made exclusively for Kids in the House readers at: bit.ly/DrM-KITH

Dr. Marcie is a behavioral therapist based in Brooklyn. She has worked with thousands of families over 15 years and has condensed her observations into her practice and programs. www.BehaviorAndBeyond.net

Behavior Therapist

Dr. Marcie has realistic ideas for the real-life behaviors that parents and professionals face. For over 15 years, Dr. Marcie has created tantrum-free zones for thousands of families, many being the most challenging cases, and has effective and tested strategies for today's parents and educators to regain control of their children, their lives and their classrooms. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctorate, and earned her Doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University and her New York State Certification as a Special Education Teacher and Administrator. Dr. Marcie conducts professional development and parenting trainings privately, at universities, at day care centers, as well as pre-school, elementary and secondary schools around the country, and has a column in NY Parenting.