What are Challenging Behaviours?
The best place to start when considering positive behaviours is understanding why challenging behaviours occur. Challenging behaviours, also known as behaviours of concern, can be the result of factors such as:
- An inability to effectively communicate one’s thoughts or feelings.
- Attention seeking and an absence of acknowledgement and validation.
- External, environmental pressure that is causing excessive anxiety or stressors.
- Physiological, cultural, or community dynamics.
- A range of other factors.
There is no single, definitive cause of any challenging behaviour. Challenging behaviours are complex, unpredictable, and often deserving of specialised attention. We have professionals who have dedicated years to the study and practice of Behaviour Therapy.
To reduce challenging behaviours may require holistic support and professional intervention; however, encouraging positive behaviour is something that you can work on every day.
Everyone has moments where they resort to challenging behaviour, such as aggression or absconding, to cope with their feelings. While these behaviours can be frustrating for loved ones, it is generally twice as frustrating, overwhelming, and isolating for that person.
Whether challenging behaviours are a rare occurrence or frequent event, implementing strategies in your day-to-day life to encourage positive behaviours can go a long way to improving everyone’s quality of life.
Our Strategies for Positive Behaviour
The first strategy to help support and grow positive behaviour in another is to set clear expectations. Eliminating doubt and confusion by providing realistic goals that the person can aspire to will help focus a person’s energy on positives rather than negatives and possibilities rather than hurdles.
The key here is to ensure that these expectations are reasonable, achievable, and clearly communicated. Expectations should be measured and upheld against the person’s capacity for that task or behaviour. If help is required to meet expectations, then be sure that they know where or who to go to for that help. You won’t help anyone by creating more confusion and ambiguity. The simpler the goal, the better.
Your modelling should reflect what is reasonable and appropriate considering the other person’s situation. It is unrealistic to expect someone to behave in a way that you would be incapable of in the same circumstance.
To effectively encourage positive behaviour in others, you must consistently model that positive behaviour. By being on the receiving end of your behaviour, others can more tangibly see and feel what positive behaviour should be and, ultimately, model it themselves.
Positive behaviour is an ongoing, long-term learning process as much as it is a moment in time.
Positive Praise is a powerful tool for encouraging anyone to do anything. When encouraging positive behaviour specifically, this praise must be positive and behaviour specific.
Behaviour-specific praise includes a pointed reference to the desired behaviour, it is specific to the individual, and it is positively phrased. Rather than taking action only when challenging behaviours occur, spend the same energy every day to look actively for behaviours that you can positively praise.
If you suspect that someone is having an especially difficult time, avoid reprimand where possible. Be more attentive and provide more praise for positive behaviour. Positive behaviour support is most effective when contrasted with any internal negative feelings.
All the above strategies will only be effective as long as they are applied consistently.
Everyone finds change and instability unsettling at the best of times. Uncertainty, change and instability registers like an error in our brain. It needs to be corrected before we can feel comfortable again, so we’d rather not experience it at all if we can avoid it.
Inconsistency can confuse the person’s understanding of their expectations, limit your legitimacy as a model, and reduce the effectiveness of any praise that you give.
It may be overwhelming, or even uncomfortable, at first. There is a lot to be considered when encouraging positive behaviours. But in the end, creating a healthy routine of positive behaviour support will go a long way toward strengthening your relationships and improving the quality of life for you and your loved ones.
Ultimately, it’s ok to ask for help. You don’t have to do it alone, especially when there will be times when new or added challenges confront you. That’s where Butter Fish Services come in. We’re your dedicated Behaviour Therapy team, who will work with you to build a brighter future.
Complete our online Referral Form or contact us on 1300 020 271 to start your journey today.