The ADDapt Program’s Behavioral Training for Parents
Behavioral psychology has proven that behaviors that are followed by a positive outcome are more likely to be repeated. This is termed reinforcement. When a child has ADHD, parents and teachers are so often focused on the child’s undesirable behaviors, that the desirable behaviors do not get reinforced. In other words, the adults rarely “catch the child being good.” This does not mean that the child with ADHD never is good, but those incidents of the child doing what is expected of them is too often overshadowed by their disruptive and hyperactive behaviors. Through the ADDapt program, you can learn to identify and reinforce the kind of behaviors you want out of your child, and as a result make those behaviors more likely to occur.
As you learn more behavioral principles, you will also come to understand the effects of what is termed intermittent reinforcement. To understand this concept in a very easy way, think of a slot machine. The pay-off is intermittent. You never know when it will come, but you know it will come eventually. Therefore, it’s very easy to just keep playing. Unfortunately, many undesirable behaviors of children with ADHD are unknowingly reinforced by parents and teachers on an intermittent schedule, thus making these behaviors more likely to occur. In other words, they become hard habits to break. For example, parents and teachers are sometimes inconsistent in following-through with consequences for misbehaviors, such as temper tantrums or whining. Sometimes they’ll “stick to their guns” and “enforce the law.” However, other times, the child “wears them down” and the adults give in to the child. What the adults have unintentionally done in this case is intermittently reinforced the undesirable behavior. Just like the slot machine example, what this has done is to teach the child: “Sometimes the tantrums and whining pay off. I just don’t know how much tantrums or whining will be needed for the pay off, so I’ll keep on doing it.” The ADDapt Program will also teach you how to stay consistent with your discipline, and to help break any bad behavioral habits that are already established.