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Help Children Control Impulsive Behavior Problems

Managing Impulsive Behavior Problems


Updated June 25, 2014

Boys playing video games in school
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Students with learning disabilities sometimes have difficulty attending in class. This is particularly true of students who also have Attention Deficit Disorders with and without hyperactivity. These tips can help used alone or with a comprehensive behavior intervention plan.
  • Use positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior. This is an important habit for parents to develop because it is so easy to ignore kids when they're behaving appropriately. It is the disruptive and irritating behavior we tend to notice and respond to. Train yourself to show your child you appreciate her efforts and that you recognize the things she does well.
  • Use negative reinforcement to reduce problem behaviors.
  • Try to reward appropriate behavior and apply consequences to problem behavior as soon as it happens and as consistently as possible. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to keep up with impulsive children, but if you fall behind, your interventions will be less successful and may not help at all.
  • Consider time-out for misbehavior.
  • Avoid lectures and criticism of the child. Focus instead on factual statements of the problem behavior and the consequence.
  • At school, seat the student near peers who model appropriate behavior.
  • Develop a behavior modification plan and behavior contract.
  • Ignore minor inappropriate behaviors and focus on the most important problem behaviors.
  • At school, do not respond to the child when he blurts out inappropriately or seeks attention in impulsive and disruptive ways. Instead, apply the consequences of the behavior plan. Call on him only when his hand is appropriately raised and he is participating according to the classroom rules.
  • Praise other children in the home or the classroom when they demonstrate appropriate behaviors.

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