Articles for Professionals
A common concern of parents is that their child is engaging in too much video game or TV time. Many families have televisions, computers, tablets, and video game systems in their homes to complicate the problem. When working with families to structure screen time, don't advise them to take all of it away, rather work with them to use shaping to reduce it. Slowly cut back on time. Once the child is successfully able to stick with the designated block of time, you can reduce it slowly. Teach the parent how to reinforce the child for turning off devices calmly at the designated time. They should praise enthusiastically and use a small reward each time the child succeeds. You will need four to six days of success [...]
Myth: The therapist should focus on and problem solve what the parent is doing wrong in order to change it. When working with parents of children with behavioral difficulties, you may want to hash out some things that the parent is doing wrong and try to fix those things. A better way to help is to find some things that the parent is doing well and work on strengthening those. For example, if a parent is sometimes praising a child for good behaviors, that is something to focus on. Let the parent know how great this is, practice effective praise in sessions with him or her, and work on increasing this praise at home. This is how you will create change for the whole family!
In sessions, emphasize a team approach and how great it is that they are both attending sessions. Interrupt all arguing and blaming in session and prompt for only saying positive things about the other. Praise parents for remaining calm and saying positive things about each other in the session. Set up similar point charts in each home to reinforce positive behaviors in children. If it isn't possible for both parents to get through a session calmly, ask that they decide which one of them will participate. PMT will still be effective if you only train one parent and sessions will be more productive without the arguments.
Tackling a problem behavior at school can be overwhelming for us as clinicians. It is a long school day with many challenges and factors. The best way to work on school behaviors is to use a skill called shaping. Shaping is the process of changing a difficult or complex behavior by breaking it up into steps. Reinforcing each step until it is consistent before adding more is the key. For example, if you are working with a child who has difficulty staying seated at school, you could use shaping to change this behavior. Maybe the child gets reinforced with praise and a small reward for sitting calmly for just one short period of time (snack time, or 10 minutes of writing time). Then once that is [...]
When families have disagreements or children challenge the rules, compromise can be an effective tool. Compromising involves discussing a problem between family members calmly. We suggest that you choose an easy problem to discuss at first while the family is still learning this skill. A more heated disagreement can be compromised later. The therapist should review the rules with the family as well as offer praise for following the rules in session. Here are the rules families should follow when participating in a compromise session: Be calm: This is critical! However, you are human too, and this is not always possible. If you need to you can leave the room or make a phone call—do something that allows you time to get at least a [...]
“The Kazdin Method® is a great opportunity for nurses, pediatricians, psychologists, social workers, teachers, or anyone who has the capacity to connect with the parent of a child who has behavioral issues. Proven techniques are perfect for professionals who may be struggling with their own client’s success but has not been trained in Kazdin’s PMT.”
— Dr. Alan E. Kazdin