Medical doctors often strive to cure diseases (e.g., an antibiotic “works” because it “fixes” and eliminates an ear infection), however, it is equally important for medical doctors to manage diseases (e.g., insulin “works” not because it “cures” diabetes, but rather because it “manages” diabetes). Similarly, with behavior we should not assume a “cure” mindset, but rather, we should have a more realistic “management” mindset.
Some may argue, “The continued need for the ‘such-and-such’ behavior management technique over the years indicates that the ‘such-and-such’ technique obviously doesn’t work!” But this is as absurd as arguing that a boat “doesn’t work” because it needs your navigation to get to the destination. With boats (and your child’s behavior) we must accept that the nature of the “journey” involves a series of ongoing, minor course corrections. We cannot let the boat (or behavior) get too far off course, or else the correction becomes quite difficult.
We recognize outside influences on the boat (e.g., water currents, winds) and behavior (e.g., peers, media), but we should not allow these outside influences to frustrate us in our efforts to navigate and keep the boat (and behavior) on course. We recognize that the boat (and behavior) can travel via an infinite number of courses, yet still arrive in many different places (most good, some bad). We also should accept that the process of navigation should be as important (and as enjoyable) as the outcome.