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My Child Has a Problem

Using a Behavior Scale

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The Behavior Scale is a technique that I find helpful in my counseling work, and it's simple to do. Print the Behavior Scale now or use a sheet of paper and draw the simple diagram.

1. Begin in the upper left corner. Describe how your child is behaving when he is at his best. What is he doing, what are his emotions, what is he saying? These are the 10 times.

2. Now move to the right of the center line. Describe what is going on in his environment during those 10 times. Where is he, who is with him, are certain stressors relieved, how are the adults interacting with him? You are looking for clues in the 10 times. Recognize your child's positive behaviors and begin to think of how you can structure his environment to encourage more positive behavior.

3. Next look at the situation at it's worst. In the lower left corner, write the specific actions, words, and emotions your child expresses during the bad times. Crying spells, temper tantrums, lying, aggression, defiance, withdrawal, whatever behaviors concern you most.

4. Again, move to the right of the center line. Describe what is going on in your child's environment when these episodes occur.

You can see that your child is exhibiting a continuum of behavior that fluctuates from good to bad and is related to environmental factors. The most important part of the Behavior Scale comes next.

Next page > What To Do When Your Child Is at 6

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