Behavior Modification is a method used by many parents, psychologist and therapists to alter someone’s behavior through either negative or positive reinforcement of acceptable behavior. It is also a method of changing how they react to certain stimuli by means of positive and negative reinforcement by reinforcing the positive behavior and reducing or eliminating the negative behavior by mean of positive or negative conditioning.
Behavior modification involves methods to change the human behavior through a system of reward or punishment. Another part of behavior modification is classical conditioning. Classical conditioning steers towards acknowledging the behavioral changes brought about from different stimuli and the responses and affecting the changes. This is very important in making an accurate diagnosis and for starting an effective treatment plan.
Behavior modification is most often used with children with ADHD. The main way that behavior modification is used is by the reward system. When a parent observes the child doing some thing that they are supposed to be doing, they child is rewarded. Each time the same correct behavior takes place, there is a reward given again. With consistency, complete behavior modification has taken place in time.
There has been much controversy and criticism regarding the use of negative punishment for bad behavior. Most therapists and psychologists do not believe in punishment, although positive punishment has been used on occasions where no other form of treatment has been successful. Most therapists feel that the use of negative punishment results in more negative behavior and emotional disorders and, therefore, is not an effective method of behavior modification.
Before the behavior modification can be successful and effective, the behavior needs to be assessed and monitored to determine a specific pattern such as when the bad behavior takes place, as well as what happened before and after the bad behaviors. This assessment is referred to as the “ABC” approach, and what are observed are the Antecedents, Behaviors and Consequences. Once this is determined, the behavior modification can take place.
An example of this would be a child that eats a meal and begins to misbehave after he’s finished eating. If this begins a regular pattern, the assessment of what he’s eating is taken. Each of the foods the child has eaten is eliminated one by one until they determine which food caused the instant poor behavior. This is another way of behavior modification.
In many instances, especially with ADHD children, bad behavior is brought on by some specific subject or variable. Once the variable is altered or removed, the bad behavior is “modified” or removed.