Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Corrective Teaching

Find the first post to this series here.

Corrective Teaching

If you've started applying Preventative Teaching with your children, you're probably wondering, "what happens if my child still doesn't obey?"  Answer is...you go into Corrective Teaching.

There will be times where your child still misbehaves even if you've set them up for success.  There will also be many times where events happen in the moment and Preventative Teaching is not option.

Children are likely to test the waters ESPECIALLY when a new concept is being introduced.  It's healthy to test the limits to a point, but obviously there has to be some boundaries.  Expect major temper tantrums during the first few weeks.  They are called extinguish bursts.  Know this is normal and it will pass.  Push through.  Emme is no exception.  She has tried everything in her power to get us to revert back to our old ways.  There were many times I thought I was going to rip my hair out and run for the hills.  Most importantly when using these new tools STAY CALM and stick to the plan.


1.  Stop/Describe the problem behavior.
2.  Give a negative consequence.
3.  Describe the positive behavior. 

Simplified or How I Do It.

1.  "Emme, because you hit Corbin you get a consequence."
2.  "You need to sit by the wall for 4 min."
3.  "Good job doing your consequence.  I'm so proud that you did it right away."

I should explain that Emme is learning new skills as well.  She first learned some healthy coping skills, which I'll talk about another day, and second she learned to follow instructions.  When I ask her to do something she is supposed to follow the steps below.

I pretty much have to prompt her on every single one right now, but she is starting to say "OK, mom!"  If she fails to do what we've asked or doesn't follow through with the rules we've set up during Preventative Teaching then she gets a consequence.  


Sarah wrote a bunch of different consequences on popsicle sticks.  The ones that have black tips are for more severe behaviors.  Pulling out a popsicle helps with the consequences being sporadic and less likely to predict.  If Emme knew that she had to go to time out every time she had a consequence it would most likely lose it's effectiveness.  

Only give one consequence at a time.  Building more and more consequences will make a kid feel defeated and then they will most likely give up completely.  They are only expected to do their consequence and whatever it is that you asked them to do before can play or do anything else.  

"Emme it's time to go potty!"  
"No mom, I'm not going!"
"Because you refuse to go potty you have to chosen to get a consequence."
Pull out a popsicle stick and read the consequence.
"It says to clean off the table.  Here is a wipe."
Wipes off table.
"The table looks so clean.  Good job!  Now it's time to go potty."
After she goes potty...
"I'm so proud of you for going potty!  You can go back to playing Barbies now."
**Note that it is not always this easy... especially in the beginning.

Positive consequences and praise are very important and in the long run, way more effective than negative.  Make sure that you are praising and reinforcing good behavior way more than you are giving negative consequences.  That doesn't mean you let bad behavior slide, just that you remember to praise the good behavior as well.  In the beginning it will be hard, and most likely they will be getting quite a few negative consequences as they test you, but it is especially important to praise praise praise the good behaviors.  It is more likely that they will follow direction if they have been getting positive feedback from you all day than it is if you've been nagging them.  If they have a day that they are especially pushing your buttons, work even harder to tell them the things they are doing right.  It can be as simple as thanking them for tying their own shoes, or sitting quietly for two seconds.  Praise doesn't always have to be after you've asked them to do something either.  It can be over something you just catch them doing already. 

Sarah also set up a pom pom jar for Emme.  Every time Emme earns four pom poms she get to put them in the jar and choose a prize from the prize box.  I went and bought a ton of dollar items I knew she would like.  I even mixed in a few pieces of candy.  

When she fills her jar up to one of the lines she gets a bigger prize.  So far she has earned two Barbies and she knows when she gets to the top she gets a big Barbie car.  I have to admit Emme hasn't been super thrilled with the whole pom pom thing, but she does love picking out the prizes.  I always make sure to tell her how proud I am that she EARNED her new prize.  Her face always lights up when I say it.  It's important to have small goals.  If it takes too long to get to a prize, your child may get bored of it really quick.  

Keep in mind prizes can be things like getting to play a game with you, or having time on the iPad.  Obviously a 16 year old will not care about a silly dollar toy.  Get creative.  

Never reward negative behavior.  This is tricky.  Things like "If you stop crying you can have a sucker," or "If you stop screaming you can play with the iPad," are not going to stop bad behavior long term.  
A more effective way would be, "Because you are crying you need to pull a consequence."  
Then only after they are calm and finished with their consequence can you reward them.  
"You earned a sucker because you calmed down and did your consequence."

Real Life Examples

If your child is more compliant they may feel bad and want to fulfill their consequence quickly to earn your affection once again.  If that is the case, then hooray for you! Give them poms poms for doing their consequences right away.   That was not the case with my super defiant/independent child. 

She was really excited about the consequences on the popsicle sticks at first and acted in ways that she knew would earn them.  Cleaning sounded really fun to her the first day, so she did everything in her power to get in trouble.  Even though I was freaking out inside I kept my cool because I was told this would happen and I finally had a plan.  

After about a day and a half Emme started to refuse to do her consequences.  Cue, extinguish bursts.  They were big and they weren't pretty.  When this happens you go into what is called Intensive Teaching.  That will be my next post, but to keep it a little more simple I'm going to stick with Corrective for today. 

So for now I will give real examples of when Emme has done her consequence right away.  This didn't happen until we had been implementing the program for about a week and a half.  So stick to your guns even if it feels like they'll never comply.  

Emme was spitting in Corbin's face which earned an immediate consequence.

"Because you are spitting in Corbin's face you have earned a consequence." 

Consequence was sitting in time out for 4 min.  

Emme said "OK mom, that was really bad that I spit in his face."  Shocking I know!  Is this my Emme?!

Emme walks to the wall and sits down. 

"You are doing such a good job doing your consequence."  "Thank you for doing it right away!"  

Usually I give her some more positive prompts while she sits there.  

After four minutes.

"I'm so proud that you finished your consequence."  "Let's give you a pom pom for sitting there the whole time."

After doing Preventative Teaching before going to Sam's Club Emme still didn't behave.

"Emme, remember the rules.  I need you to keep a quiet voice."

Emme continued to scream.

"Because you are still screaming we need to go sit in the car while dad finishes the shopping and you don't get to earn your cookie on the way home."

Emme walked calmly to the car with me.  

"You are doing a really good job walking by mom."  

Then we went and sat in the car.  Eventually, she wanted to go back into the store and was upset she couldn't have a cookie, so I empathized with her.

"I know, it's so sad that you chose to scream instead of having a cookie."   

She whined some more about it, then found a nearby marker she had in her carseat and drew all over her pants.  

"Mom, I drew all over my pants because you wouldn't let me have my cookie."

"Uh, oh Emme.  Right when we get home you need to pull a consequence because writing on our pants is not okay.  You also chose not to have a cookie when you wouldn't stop screaming."

We were going straight home so I knew she'd still understand why she was getting a consequence.  If we were going anywhere else I would have made up a different more immediate consequence.  

We got home and she did her consequence right away.  I praised her and gave her some pom poms for completing her task then we moved on with our day.

Technically that was two consequences, but because she had already fulfilled the first one and she did a new separate act, I felt it was okay to give her another one.

Next Time...

Next topic will be Coping Skills and Intensive Teaching.  I will also talk about Baiting and If/Then statements.

You may want to pause on implementing Corrective Teaching until you learn Intensive Teaching.  If your child is anything like Emme there will be hell to pay when you consistently start using these new tools and you will need to know what to do when the tantrums hit.  Get ready to put your game face on friends!

This is a lot of info to take in and it's late at night that I'm writing this so please feel free to email me abarnowlsview@gmail.com or leave a comment below if you have questions.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

Preventative Teaching

As I have talked about before we are in a parenting program right now.  It has been insightful and needed, but also hard and sometimes even gut wrenching.  I've decided to write about the tools I'm learning because it has already changed the course of our lives as parents and I know it could help others.

For anyone who is wanting to look into the program first hand, it is through Utah Village and is called Families First.  The University of Utah does a study on it every year to make sure it is still effective.  In fact my niece works at a residential home for teenage girls and uses the exact same program.  Quite interesting if you ask me.  Sara* (name changed) our specialist works with ages up to 18 and uses all of the same tools.  My point being...it works for all ages and with some of the hardest behaviors.  Now I do want to point out that I do believe Emme needed to be in a place where she could actually slow down and focus on what's being taught.  Thanks to the right medication and hard work our therapist felt like Emme was in a place where she could learn and actually retain the information she was being given.   There was a time it was not so.  But, I digress...

The first skill I learned was Preventative Teaching and guys... it is life changing.  With this skill we noticed more of change right away whereas the other skills took some more work to see improvement.

 Note* most of this info is straight from their handbook and not my from my own genius mind.

Preventive Teaching

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
-Benjamin Franklin

When to use________

1. When your child needs to learn something new.
2. When your child has behaved inappropriately in the past.
3. Always at a neutral time. 


1. Positive motivation statement
2. Introduce the skill and steps
3. Reason for using the skill
4. Demonstrate skill
5. Youth Practice (at least 3 times)
6. Praise and feedback
7. Positive consequence (reward)
8. Preventive prompts


1. Tell them something positive.   ex. - "You are doing such a good job sitting quiet right now."
2. Talk to them about how you want them to act later.  ex. - "Later we are going out to eat and I want you to stay in your chair, keep your voice quiet, and ask mom or dad for their phone if you get bored."
3. Reason.  ex. - "because we enjoy our dinner more when everyone uses their quiet voice and stays seated."
4. Reward.  ex. - "if you do that we can stop for a cookie on the way home."
5. Practice.  ex. - "Let's play restaurant and show each other how we're going to act tonight at dinner."

**To be honest I don't always give a reason, because at Emme's age the least amount of words I say the better she can remember everything.  We also tend to skip practicing here and there and it still seems to work fine.  I usually just remind her of what I expect of her a few more times throughout the day.

Real Life Situations__________

We noticed an immediate difference after introducing Preventative Teaching.

Before... Emme was running away and refusing to go to class at school.  She would kick me and scream the second she saw me after school.  She was hitting and biting friends during school.  She was getting scores of 2s and 3s (five being the best) on her goals.  Church was hell (is that an oxymoron?) because she was escaping from primary and running through the halls.  She occasionally would throw a chair and scare the other kids.  She'd lay on the floor next to the person doing sharing time and roll around.  She'd come into my class while I was teaching and take apart my bag.  Once she even cut her dress.  Seriously guys....Church...!!   At restaurants she would refuse to stay in her seat and crawl all over the dirty floor under the table.  She'd scream and run around the table.  Getting her into the car at any time was like catching a squirrel while it's running up a tree.  The list goes on and on my friends.

After... Emme went right to class, treated her friends nicely, scored 5s every day, and walked straight to the car after school without screaming or hitting me. At church, she has stayed with her class every single week and hasn't disrupted the group once or run away.  Serious miracles.  She has improved immensely at restaurants, but still gets pretty wiggly.  She no longer spends it on the disgusting floor though and to that I call it a success.  85% of the time she gets into the car with no problems and I no longer have to catch her and physically put her in the car.

Things to Note_________

Praise is key and you can never use too much of it.  Find ways to uplift your child all the live long day.  Especially, when you feel like they are underserving of it.

Positive consequences, like giving rewards, changes the way the brains thinks and acts where as negative doesn't.  Don't freak out... I'm not saying you can't use negative consequences only that positive is what brings the long term change.  I'll talk about negative and positive consequences in another post.

Rewards can be anything.  Treats, reading a book together, getting to go to the park, getting to play their favorite toy, extra time on a device.  Whatever floats your kid's boat.


Feel free to comment or email me abarnowlsview@gmail.com

I'll answer the best I can!