Thursday, June 2, 2016

It's been a Rough Few Days: Meaningful consequences for Bad Behavior

It’s been a really rough week for Bam Bam. His last two school behavior charts have had quite a few red marks. These last few days have been two of the roughest days that he has had all year. He also experienced a brief rough patch in February of this year. As a mother, these rough days are particularly hard on me. I absolutely hate having to try and identify the triggers that are causing my son to escalate. I know that it’s the end of the year, and many kids are having a difficult time. I see this in my own class. Students are just done and ready for the school year to be over, but my son has to learn that he needs to use appropriate means when interacting with his fellow students and his teacher.

I recently wrote a post about positive reinforcement and meaningful consequences. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you can view it here à

When Bam Bam had his first rough day this week I went through and clearly told him what his consequences would be if his behavior continued. I explained to him that he would have to come home and pull weeds if his poor behavior continued. Unfortunately, he had another really rough day yesterday. It was so rough, that I ended up getting an email from his teacher. This rarely happens, and honestly it has only occurred a hand full of times this year.

In addition to having a rough couple of days, my son has started to do a really typical behavior. When he got picked up from school yesterday, he lied to his papa and told him that he had a wonderful day at school. He did this because his papa had promised him a new Lego set if he had an outstanding day. When he got home and saw my face he immediately knew that I was aware that he had not had a great at school. He started to then do another very typical behavior. He began negotiating with me in regards to what his consequence should be. He told me, “Mom, I have decided that I really hate doing the horses. I think that you should let me deal with the horses rather than having to pull weeds. I’ve changed my mind, and I really love pulling weeds.” My kid absolutely despises pulling weeds, but he thought that if he told me that he loved it and that he hated dealing with the horses that I would let him clean horse stalls instead of pulling weeds. Thankfully, I wasn’t born yesterday =)

My kiddo realized very quickly that his plan wasn’t going to work. He had a mini meltdown when he realized that he was in fact going to have to pull weeds. He was also extremely upset when his Lego set had to be put away until it could really be earned through good behavior. This consequence has worked in the past so I am hopeful that today will be a better day. I am a firm believer that poor behavior at school needs to be followed up with meaningful consequences at home. My son’s teacher knows that she can reach out to me at any time to discuss her concerns. She is also aware that an outstanding day for Bam Bam may look a bit differently for a typical kid. There is also plan in place for over stimulation and sensory overload. Bam Bam is also front loaded before any transition and visual timers are used. If he struggles with a particular transition then prompting is used. I am okay if these types of issues occur, but both my son’s teacher and I agree that blatant disruptive/non-compliant behavior is never okay. I am hopeful that my son will have a better day today. I really don’t think that he wants to have another fun filled afternoon of pulling weeds.

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