Friday, December 14, 2012

School violence: Tips on helping your child manage their emotions

Earlier today we witnessed another tragic school situation in Connecticut. According to the New York Times, 26 people (18 were children) were killed in a shooting this morning at an elementary school in Newton, CT. It was reported that the gunman shot his mother (who is a teacher at the school) and then 18 students in the class. In the wake of many recent school incidents of violence, a huge burden is placed on parents to help their child cope with the traumatizing event. 

Below are a few tips from the American Psychological Association (APA) on managing distress in children:
  • Take "news breaks". Your children may want to keep informed by gathering information about the event from the internet, television, or newspapers. It is important to limit the amount of time spent watching the news because constant exposure may actually heighten their anxiety and fears. Also, scheduling some breaks for yourself is important; allow yourself time to engage in activities you enjoy.
  • Talk with your child. Talking to your children about their worries and concerns is the first step to help them feel safe and begin to cope with the events occurring around them. What you talk about and how you say it does depend on their age, but all children need to be able to know you are there listening to them.
    • Start the conversation; let them know you are interested in them and how they are coping with the information they are getting.
    • Listen to their thoughts and point of view; don't interrupt--allow them to express their ideas and understanding before you respond.
    • Express your own opinions and ideas without putting down theirs; acknowledge that it is okay to disagree.
    • Remind them you are there for them to provide safety, comfort and support. Give them a hug.
  • Keep home a safe place. Children, regardless of age, often find home to be a safe haven when the world around them becomes overwhelming. During times of crisis, it is important to remember that your children may come home seeking the safe feeling they have being there. Help make it a place where your children find the solitude or comfort they need. Plan a night where everyone participates in a favorite family activity.
  • Watch for signs of stress, fear or anxiety. After a traumatic event, it is typical for children (and adults) to experience a wide range of emotions, including fearfulness, shock, anger, grief and anxiety. Your children's behaviors may change because of their response to the event. They may experience trouble sleeping, difficulty with concentrating on school work, or changes in appetite. This is normal for everyone and should begin to disappear in a few months. Encourage your children to put their feelings into words by talking about them or journaling. Some children may find it helpful to express their feelings through art.
  • Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your children. Be a model for your children on how to manage traumatic events. Keep regular schedules for activities such as family meals and exercise to help restore a sense of security and normalcy.
If you find that your child is experiencing significant trauma and emotional difficulties you should consult with the school counselor or seek professional help in your area. It is possible that you may find a resource of providers by searching the website of the psychological association in your state. You can also browse for a psychologist in your area through APA.

Copyright 2012 Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D.
Follow me on Twitter @DrEarlTurner and on Facebook at “Get Psych’d with Dr. T”

American Psychological Association (2011). Helping your child manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting. Obtained December 14, 2012 from
Photo: courtesy of Shannon Hick/The Newton Bee

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Temper Tantrums: Tips for Parents

A recent article in the Monitor on Psychology, a publication by the American Psychological Association, discussed temper tantrums in preschool children. According to the article, “daily tantrums only occur in less than 10 percent of preschool children, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status or ethnicity.” This was based on a study conducted at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

In my practice over the years, I have encountered many parents who come to my office to cope with their child’s tantrums. Often times, many parents may not seek help for this issue because tantrums are seen as a common behavior among toddlers. However, based on research you can see that only a small number of children exhibit tantrums at a high rate. As a behavioral psychologist, there are a number of ways to manage tantrums. The following tips may be useful.
  • Establish a sleep routine. For many children, their moods are dependent on how much or little sleep they have had the previous night. Children who often have poor sleep habits tend to be more irritable and may exhibit more tantrum behavior. To help prevent tantrums make sure your child gets adequate sleep.
  • Don’t fall into the attention trap. Children often get additional attention when they exhibit tantrums. To decrease tantrum behaviors avoid giving attention to your child when they have a tantrum. For example, if your child has a tantrum, remove attention by looking away and remaining silent. Do not scold the child or tell them to stop crying.
  • Reward appropriate behavior. Occasionally, children exhibit tantrums as a way to communicate their wants and desires. By using rewards, you can shape your child’s appropriate behavior. For example, reward your child for using their words to request objects or for sharing with others if tantrums occur during play.
  • Talk to a psychologist. If tantrum behavior occur more days than not, seek professional help from a behavior therapist or psychologist. Child psychologist and/or behavior therapist are specifically trained to analyze behavior and determine what the function of that behavior is. You can seek an evaluation or functional behavior assessment by a professional who can work with you and your family to determine the best approach to improve your child’s functioning.

Copyright 2012 Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D.

Note: The following information is intended to be general advice for managing behavior. Please consult with a mental health professional in your area if treatment is desired. You can find a brief list of psychologist at provided by the American Psychological Association. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Everyday Discipline for Toddlers

New feature: Video post on Everyday Discipline for Toddlers (approximately 72 minutes)

Featured presenter:

Ashley Harlow, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Nationally Certified School Psychologist 

Children's Hosptial & Medical Center
Children's Behavioral Health
Omaha, Nebraska

Dr. Harlow's Bio:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness

October is designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness month. In the United States, over 100,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year. Several years ago, I was personally faced with dealing with breast cancer as my mother was diagnosed. I vividly recall it was the summer before I was preparing to move away for graduate school when I got the news. It was very devastating at the time. Yet my thoughts didn’t consider what she was experiencing at that time. First, how was she going to cope with the diagnosis? Second, how was she feeling about opening up and talking about her diagnosis with her first born child right before his departure to begin a journey towards becoming a psychologist? Now that she is healthy and remains in my life I have been treasuring each day with her. I have also been making an active effort to take part in activities that focus on Breast Cancer Awareness. For example, every year I travel home to run in the Susan G. Komen 5K in her honor.

I can only imagine what it is like for a mother to tell her child about her illness. Given the incidence of breast cancer, many women are faced with this issue each year. Here are a few facts you should know about Breast Cancer:

  • Typically, breast cancer starts out too small to feel and does not cause signs and symptoms
  • It is important to have a regular mammogram. Doctors use a mammogram to look for early signs of breast cancer.
  • Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. 
  • Men can also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. For every 100 cases of breast cancer, less than 1 is in men.

Dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis:

If you are diagnosed with breast cancer it is important to make sure you receive appropriate care. The links below provide some resources to help throughout the process.

Talking to your child about breast cancer:

View the links below for help on how to talk with your child about breast cancer and how to help them cope with your illness.

Written by Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D. October 2012

© Copyright 2012 Erlanger A. Turner 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September has been designated as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. These rates are very alarming considering both the short- and long-term effects on a child’s health status. According to the Institute of Medicine, children and adolescents ages 2 to 18 years with a BMI of > 30 or > 95th percentile for age and gender—whichever is smaller—are considered obese.  Additionally, it has been recommended that children and adolescents with a BMI > 85th percentile but < 95th percentile or a BMI of 30—whichever is smaller—be considered overweight.

What are the consequences of childhood obesity?

According to research, studies have found that compared to healthy children and adolescents, children and adolescents who are obese have significant impairments in health related quality of life (HRQOL) in all domains, including physical and psychosocial functioning (e.g., emotional, social, and school). The CDC notes that some immediate health effects include: higher risk of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, diabetes, bone and joint problems, and sleep apnea. Furthermore, long-term consequences of obesity may include type 2 diabetes, cancer (e.g., colon, breast, or prostate), osteoarthritis, or stroke.

Interventions and treatment of childhood obesity:

As a parent or caregiver, you can play a major role in improving childhood obesity. First Lady Michelle Obama has worked with organizations across the United States with her Let’s Move! initiative to expand access to nutritious foods and promote physical activity among children. To access more information about the Let’s Move! Campaign and how you can deal with the issue of childhood obesity, visit

In my work as a psychologist and researcher, I have collaborated with others to examine the impact of obesity on children. We have found that psychologists can be a great resource to assist with changing healthy lifestyles and decreasing childhood obesity. The use of behavioral modification and behavior therapy can significantly improve health eating and physical activity. Limbers, Turner, and Varni (2008) discuss how behavior modification programs and motivational interviewing can target eating, exercise, and diet behaviors to result in significant improvements in weight status, increasing physical fitness, and psychosocial improvements for children who are obese children. 

General resources to improve healthy eating and increase physical activity:

Note: Please contact Dr. Erlanger Turner for references.

© Copyright 2012 Erlanger A. Turner 

Monday, August 20, 2012

ADHD in young children: One of the most common difficulties of childhood

Working as a licensed clinical psychologist I am often faced with parents coming to me for help with their young child. These families may seek help with managing a number of concerns such as anger, excessive worrying, or attention problems. Now that summer vacation for children has ended and the school year is here, many parents and teachers will be confronted with over-active children. Some of these concerns may be due to limited opportunities to go outside and play, while others may have difficulties resulting from a more complex issue such as a diagnosable disruptive behavior disorder.

During early childhood children often have difficulty sitting still, paying attention, or controlling their impulses. This is part of the normal developmental process. However, for a small number of these children the problem is more persistent and impacts their daily lives at home and at school. Children with pervasive over-activity levels and inattention may have Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder also known as ADHD.  ADHD is a neurobiological disorder characterized by developmentally inappropriate impulsivity, inattention, and in some cases, hyperactivity. There are several types of ADHD that can be diagnosed and children may present with different symptoms. About 9.5 percent of children ages 4 to 17 in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with ADHD can be very successful in life. But without appropriate identification and treatment, ADHD can have serious consequences such as difficulties with school work, poor social skills, and conduct problems. Early identification and treatment are extremely important so if you notice concerns please consult with a psychologist.

The best outcomes for children with ADHD are associated with the use behavior therapy and medication management. According to Pediatrics, it is recommended that young children with ADHD receive behavioral interventions first, such as parent training in behavior management techniques. These treatments can be followed-up with medication if behavioral interventions are not successful.  In my practice, I typically recommend that parents attempt to implement behavior treatments. If the difficulties associated with ADHD are moderate or severe I will recommend consultation with a pediatrician or psychiatrist for medication management considerations. There is some evidence showing benefits of medication for treating ADHD in young children, however it is unclear how medication affects the child’s brain.

Below are a few suggestions for managing difficulties associated with ADHD:
  • Provide positive attention to the child
  • Target performance goals and monitoring behavior by tracking progress
  • Implement individualized home and school reinforcement programs
  • Utilize non-physical punishment procedures such as time-out or response cost systems

It should be noted that some of these recommendations may be implemented at home without a professional. However, if the child’s difficulties are persistent and long-standing you will benefit from contacting a psychologist in your area who can help tailor treatment to you and your child. Additionally, teachers and parents may consult with a school psychologist at their local school who can assist with interventions in the classroom settings and developing appropriate educational accommodations.

Additional suggestions for parents:

Driven To Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood By: Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey

Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents  By: Russell A. Barkley PhD

© Copyright 2012 Erlanger A. Turner 


Monday, July 9, 2012

Mental Health Services Use in Ethnic Minorities

Given July is designated as Minority Mental Health month; I decided to write a post on disparities in mental health. One of the reasons I pursued a Ph.D. in clinical psychology was because as an undergraduate student I felt that the research on mental health concerns in children was limited, specifically as it related to service utilization for ethnic minorities.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities1, less than ½ of adults and 1/3 of children receive the needed mental health treatment. This is alarming given that over time these problems may become worse resulting in poor daily functioning and having a negative impact on relationships. Additionally, mental health difficulties can also impact health outcomes such as chronic diseases.

According to the research ethnic minority populations (e.g., African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American) are less likely to seek help from a mental health professional such as a psychologist. My own research2,3 on child mental health services focuses on examining what are some contributing factors to preventing parents from seeking treatment. The US Surgeons General4 has reported that for ethnic minority groups some of these barriers include financial considerations, racism, and discrimination. Other1, 2 report barriers such as stigma, attitudes, income, mistrust, and lack of health care providers. In my own research, I have found that attitudes toward mental health and mental health stigma are highly important to the lack of service use by ethnic minorities.

Given these disparities in mental health, what can be done to meet the needs of ethnic minorities? Personally, I believe there needs to be increased education about the benefits of psychological treatment. The American Psychological Association, Division 42 (Psychologist in Independent Practice) has developed a video that promotes seeking treatment. See below:

Additional ways to help decrease the stigma around mental health services include:
·         Ensuring that mental health and behavioral health services are covered by insurance
·         Training psychologist to provide culturally sensitive treatments
·         Applying a community based approach to treatment
·         Talk to a doctor about mental health (to increase the referral process)

Note: If you feel the need to seek treatment, you can access the following sites to locate a provider in your area.  

© Copyright 2012 Erlanger A. Turner 


1. Fact Sheet on Mental Health Disparities (

2. Turner, E.A., Heffer, R., & Jensen-Doss, A. (August, 2010). Disparities in Child Mental Health Services: The Role of Ethnicity, Attitudes, and Stigma. Presentation at the American Psychological Association Convention, San Diego, CA.

3.  Turner, E.A., & Liew, J. (2010). Children’s Adjustment and Child Mental Health Service Use: The Role of Parents’ Attitudes and Personal Service Use in an Upper Middle Class Sample. Community Mental Health Journal, 46,3, 231-240.

4. American Psychiatric Association, Minority Mental Health (

5. National Council of Community Behavioral Health (

Monday, July 2, 2012

Resources for Psychology Students

There is an abundance of information available on the internet for students who are interested in being a licensed psychologist. As a graduate student not so long ago, there was a time when I was overwhelmed with the knowledge base available. As a former member of the Committee for the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS), I became abreast of some pertinent resources while serving at the Member at Large, Practice (2008-2010). Below is a list of sites that I have compiled. The goal is to provide practice oriented graduate students with information pertinent to the internship process, licensure preparation, and business of psychological practice.
Licensed Psychologist
National Register Health Service Provider in Psychology

v  American Psychological Association
Find information about psychology and membership in APA.

v  Internships and Postdoctoral Programs
Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC)
The APPIC site provides information regarding internship and postdoctoral programs, internship match rates, and resources for internship preparation.

v  APAGS Listservs
Stay abreast of current topics related to graduate education and training. Join APAGS listservs targeting clinical psychology.
CLINAPAGS, for students studying clinical psychology
APAGSINTERNSHIP, focused on issues faced by students currently on internship
MENTORS, connecting students with practicing psychologists
Note: To subscribe to any listserv, send an e-mail to ( with the following in the BODY of the message (leave the subject line blank): SUBSCRIBE <listserv name in capital letters> <firstname> <lastname>

v  APA Practice Central
As an APAGS member, the Practice Central allows you access to protected content related to the practice of psychology.
Staying competitive in the evolving health care marketplace requires you to take an active role in building, managing, marketing and diversifying your practice.
Provides steps towards completing licensure and starting a practice.

v  Licensure and Certification Information
Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)
ASPPB is the association of psychology licensing boards. Information can be obtained regarding specific jurisdiction requirements for licensure, licensure mobility, and the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)
American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)
Interested in establishing a certified specialty area? Visit the ABPP site to obtain information about becoming a board certified psychologist. Specialty areas cover a variety of areas such as clinical, health, school, counseling, and neuropsychology.

National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology
The National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology credentials doctoral level psychologists, offer free continuing education, and work closely with doctoral level psychology students to verify and bank their credentials.

v  APA Divisions for Student Practitioners
Find your niche within the psychology field by joining an APA Division that fits your career goals.

v  Transitioning to an Early Career Psychologist
Get connected through APA Early Career Psychologist. The link provides information regarding financial planning, licensure, and career development.

© Copyright 2012 Erlanger A. Turner 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

June 1 - 30, 2012 is LGBT Pride month

June is LGBT Pride month. The American Psychological Association has several resources available for professionals and the public. These resources may be located here.

Specific to parenting, you may view this publication on isues related to lesbian and gay parenting. The publication is provided for the use of clinicians, researchers, students, lawyers, and parents involved in legal and policy issues related to lesbian and gay parenting. Lesbian and Gay Parenting is the successor to Lesbian and Gay Parenting: A Resource for Psychologists (1995).

It is divided into three parts.
  • Part I is a summary of research findings on lesbian mothers, gay fathers, and their children written by Charlotte J. Patterson, PhD.
  • Part II is an annotated bibliography of the literature cited in the summary.
  • Part III provides some additional resources relevant to lesbian and gay parenting in the forensic context: APA amicus briefs, professional association policies, and contact information for relevant organizations.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Seeking Therapy for Your Child: Every Parent has a Different Journey

There comes a time in many parents’ lives when they have difficulties managing difficult behavior or notice that their child is struggling with life. Is your child noncompliant and/or have difficulties following rules? Are they afraid to go to school or be around unfamiliar people? Does your child have difficulties completing school work or staying focused in the classroom? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, a psychologist or therapist may be useful to help address these concerns and improve you and your child’s lifestyle.

As a licensed psychologist, I have been working with children and families for years to address a number of concerns such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, anger difficulties, noncompliance, and social skills difficulties. For most of these families, these problems are not recent and they have been struggles to cope with their concerns for six to twelve months. Although these difficulties can still be address no matter the time frame when you decide to seek treatment, early intervention or recognition helps prevent further difficulties.

Over the years of providing treatment and conducting research on help-seeking behaviors, I have learned that a number of factors impact a parents decision to seek treatment including, problem severity, cost, proximity to providers, stigma towards mental health professionals, and lack of education regarding appropriateness of services. Below are a few things to keep in mind when considering what is the right time to seek therapy (this list is just a starting point!).

v  Does the behavior or identified concern prevent you or your child from engaging in a typical day?
v  Is your child complaining of difficulties more days than not (e.g., is the behavior present frequently during a given week)?
v  Does your child need additional coping strategies to live a happy life?
v  Are there any declines in your child’s emotions (e.g., does your child seem less outgoing or happy than typical)?
v  Does your child’s teacher report declines in your child’s grades?
v  Are you (as a parent) feeling more stressed then normal to help manage your child’s behavior or emotions?

If your answer is yes to some of these questions, consider talking to a psychologist or therapist to help you and your family. When contacting a professional for help, feel free to ask about coming in to see if the services are what you are looking for. You can refer to the following websites to locate a psychologist in your area.

Contact: Erlanger Turner
Written 5/16/12 Mental Health Blog Party Badge

© Copyright 2012 Erlanger A. Turner 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. May 6-12th has been designated at Children's Mental Health Awareness week. Visit the American Psychological Association's site to see resources on children's mental health (

Also, join the American Psychological Association's Blog Party on May 16th. You can post on your blog about mental health issues or share stories about your experience. Educating others about mental health issues and discussing your treatment is one way to decrease the stigma surrounding mental health. Follow @apahelpcenter on Twitter for updates about the blog party and mind/body health. To participate in the discussion, use the hashtag #mhblogday

Post an “I’m Blogging for Mental Health” 2012 badge on your blog and help proudly spread the word about the importance of mental health. Visit for more information about the Blog Party.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Therapy Effectiveness: Who gets the glory or the blame?

As a clinical psychologist who has been working in the field for years, I have provided therapy for children, adults, and couples. My philosophy has always been to meet clients at a middle ground and work towards mutually defined treatment goals. There are times when treatment progresses quickly over the course of several months, and there are times where it seems that no progress has been made. A recent New York Times (NYT) opinion article ( titled: “In Therapy Forever: Enough Already” sparked my idea for this current post. Looking at these two sides of the coin, who gets the glory when therapy is a success and who gets the blame when it appears ineffective?

To summarize the NYT’s article, the author wrote that:
A patient recently told me that, after seeing her therapist for several years, she asked if he had any advice for her. The therapist said, “See you next week.” 
When I started practicing as a therapist 15 years ago, I thought complaints like this were anomalous. But I have come to a sobering conclusion over the years: ineffective therapy is disturbingly common.

So if “ineffective” therapy is common, who is to blame? Often in my clinical practice patients bestow gratitude upon their therapist when they note improvements in their lives and their symptoms decrease. Conversely, as noted in the NYT’s article, therapists hold the majority of the blame if progress is slow or nonexistent. According to the Society of Clinical Psychology (a division of the American Psychological Association) research indicates that on average 15 to 20 sessions are required for 50% of patients to recover as indicated by self-reported symptom measures. Clinical research also suggests that people with co-occurring conditions or certain personality difficulties may require longer treatment (e.g., 12-18 months) for therapy to be effective. Given the data, it’s possible that some of those patients who are in therapy for years may have complex conditions or may be working with therapist who is not using evidence based treatments. Anecdotally, I’ve worked with numerous patients over the years, and occasionally we make a decision to terminate if the patient or I feel no progress is being made for various reasons.
Research has also indicated that the following variable impact treatment progress (this list is not exhaustive):
·         Frequency of appointments (e.g., attend weekly versus monthly)
·         Levels of symptom distress (i.e., is the problem long standing)
·         Therapist and patient adherence
o   The therapist implements the treatment as designed
o   The patient complies with treatment recommendations and homework

In the effort of full disclosure, I believe it is the therapist duty to identify with the patient why treatment has been a success or non-effective. When I terminate with my patients I consistently discuss progress towards meeting goals as well as pitfalls towards success. In my view, both the therapist and the patient contribute to whether therapy is effective or ineffective. It’s not a one-way street.  

Written by Erlanger Turner, Ph.D.

© Copyright 2012 Erlanger A. Turner 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Autism and social skills: Parenting Guides to Help Your Child

As a licensed psychologist, I have worked with children with a variety of difficulties such as behavior problems, anxiety, and difficulties with social skills. These difficulties may encompass many psychological disorders such ADHD, Autism, or social anxiety disorder. The focus of this post is on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). ASD is associated with difficulties in social interactions, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors.

When working with a family, it is common that the family will attend therapy once a week. Therefore, the majority of the work practicing skills must occur at home (outside of the therapy session). Specific to children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, therapy often requires more intense treatment. Discussions regarding appropriate services should be addressed with your psychologist or behavior therapist.

Below are some suggested readings to help your child with navigating the social world:

·         You are a Social Detective! by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke
·         Whole Body Listening Larry at Home by Kristen Wilson and Elizabeth Sautter

Other suggestions for understanding difficulties associated with autism include:
·         Children with Autism: A Parent's Guide by Michael D. Powers

·         Could It Be Autism?: A Parent's Guide to the First Signs and Next Steps by Nancy D. Wiseman

© Copyright 2012 Erlanger A. Turner 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The ABC’s of Child Behavior – Why children don’t follow directions

If you have a child, you’ve thought to yourself at some point “I don’t understand why he or she acts like that”. As a parent you often give instructions, directions, or commands that you expect to be done by your child.  However, occasionally for some parents they have difficulties getting their child to listen and comply with directions.  So why doesn’t your child follow directions? The answer to your question is as simple as ABC. The ABC's refer to Antecedents, Behaviors, and Consequences.  

Antecedents refer to what happens before the behavior. In the case of your child’s behavior, antecedents are the things that occur in the environment before your child responds. Antecedents may include the location, the individual(s) present, or activities.  

*Tips: Before giving an instruction to your child, make sure that you have their attention. Remove distractions from the room and try to avoid shouting directions or commands from another room. Just think what would happen if your boss called you at your desk or shouted for you to do something. You probably would do it faster if it was told face to face. The same applies to your child. 

Behaviors refer to actions performed following antecedents or preceding a consequence. For example, your child puts his toys away. 
Consequences refer to responses that occur after a behavioral response (e.g., what happens after a behavior). Some consequences include repeating directions, reprimands, giving a reward, or taking away a privilege.
 *Tips: To improve the chances of changing behavior, consequences are really important. If your child does not comply with your directions, use incentives or rewards to improve future behavior. Rewards can be as simple as parental attention or praising your child. Other options may include following through with a loss of a privilege (not just saying they will not be able to play). Imagine that your boss deducted money from your pay if you didn’t reach a performance goal. You will probably work harder to meet goals so that you can get an increase in pay versus loss.
So the next time you think about why your child doesn’t listen, remember the ABC’s of behavior. Behavior change occurs by modifying antecedents and consequences. The key to changing your child’s behavior is that you must be prepared to change your own.
© Copyright 2012 Erlanger A. Turner 
 Note: There are a number of reasons why children misbehave in addition to what is mentioned above. This post is not meant as a substitute to seeking professional help if desired or needed. One helpful resource may also be reading a self-help book on parenting by authors such as Dr. Russell Barkley or Dr. Alan Kazdin.

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