Step 4: Monitor the effectiveness of your strategy
Periodically monitor the effectiveness of your behavior management strategy. You may need to monitor more frequently initially, and then less frequently over time as the behavior (hopefully) improves. You may notice that, at first, there is an increase in the negative behavior that you are trying to decrease. This often occurs as children “dig in their heels” and resist your behavior management efforts. Be persistent.
You may notice that a negative behavior has decreased, but then strongly re-emerges. This is common and known as an “Extinction Burst,” whereby a behavior that appears to be “extinguished,” soon “bursts” back. An easy-to-understand analogous situation is frequently observed among adults with “yo-yo” dieting when a person “extinguishes” bad eating habits (and loses 30 pounds), but then the bad eating habits “burst” back (and the person gains back the 30 pounds that were originally lost). When trying to increase positive behavior, make sure that the behavioral goal and your techniques are each developmentally appropriate.
For example, make sure your verbal instructions are clearly understood by asking your child to explain the instructions back to you. If you offer incentives, make sure that they are meaningful (e.g., to an overly-indulged child who owns 300 toys, a small toy would probably provide no incentive – perhaps, for that child quality time with a parent is indicated and would provide much more of an incentive).
The behavior that I wanted to decrease for my child
___has been almost eliminated
___has become more tolerable and is effectively being managed
___is decreasing over time, but still needs to significantly improve
___has gotten worse over time
___is staying the same over time
The behavior that I wanted to increase for my child is
___emerging at a rate I am happy with
___emerging, but too slowly