Home Page > Article > Consistency and Boundaries

The number one reason why families, teachers, nannies, etc… experience behavior problems with children is due to lack of consistency with a behavior management plan. Every child, typical or non-typical, must be able to predict the outcome/consequences (both positive and negative) of their actions. The only way they are able to predict what will occur following their actions is with a consistent behavior system in place. In other words, behavior equals a consequence (positive or negative) 100% of the time. The more immediate and consistent the consequences are following the behavior the quicker the child learns appropriate responding. If families or caregivers are inconsistent with consequences across behaviors, settings, antecedents, parents, siblings etc… children will act out in severe, intense or aggressive ways in order to find their boundaries. The setting that has the most consistent behavior plan in place will occasion the least behavior problems from a child. The setting with an inconsistent behavior plan will occasion the most behavior problems from a child. A household where parents are not on the same page with a behavior plan will create anxious, non-compliant, and behaviorally inappropriate children around their parents. Those same children may behave perfectly at school if their teacher is consistent with a behavior plan. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with the children; the issue is with the inconsistent setting.

It is important for parents/caregivers to establish a behavior system in their setting that all adults agree upon and are willing to implement on a consistent basis. Research shows that all children crave consistency/firm boundaries since it makes them feel safe in a predictable environment. A consistent behavior plan should begin at infancy in the home and day one in the classroom.

Creating a consistent/effective behavior plan is difficult for most adults of typical children; therefore, it is very difficult for most adults trying deal with behavior of non-typical children. Behaviorist are often needed to help parents and schools shape behavior of children with behavior disorders such autism or mental illness. These services are quite expensive. Please visit our products so we can give these services directly to families needing behavior therapy/assessment/consultation in the home and the school.