“Can’t you just tell me what to do when that happens?”
Teachers and parents have asked me that question as if there is a simple point and click answer. I wish I could develop a phone “app” that would allow parents and teachers to click on a certain problem and then, WHAMMO, your solution is there (and I look like a genius). No such luck.
With more and more knowledge and experience I have with a particular child, I can make some calls on what to do. Otherwise, I think it’s like asking a car mechanic “if my car breaks down, what do I do?” Doesn’t make good sense…there are too many variables, too many questions the mechanic would have to ask and you would have to answer. As frustrating it is to hear (and I’ve been there), the good mechanic will ask you to “bring it in and I will take a look at it.” Here comes the second important part: what you do at that point.
“Well, its only a minor annoyance, I will take it in later. I don’t have time now” is what we think. Mechanics hate this and often tell us, or want to tell us, “I told you so. That minor annoyance that would have cost $50 to fix now is going to cost you $500 to repair later.” The $450 difference is the cost you pay for not attending to the “minor annoyance.”
Back to behavior…minor annoyances that occur frequently, consistently, or predictably need to be addressed. I’m not telling you to take your kid into the Doc or hire a therapist when these $50 problems surface (quite the contrary). I’m asking you to think about the behavior, what he or she is getting as a result of the behavior and under what circumstances the behavior is most likely to occur. If you can answer, or at least think about these questions you will be on the road again (and possibly $450 richer – if you will allow me to continue the metaphor).