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The Belief Behind the Behavior

Based on the Psychology of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs. Adapted by Jody McVittie from similar schema by Steven Maybell and Jane Nelsen. 3/06

1. Child’s 2. Adult’s 3. Adult’s mistaken 4. Child’s 5. The child’s belief 6. Effective prevention 7. Effective responses “Goal”
Behavior feeling reactions response (Encouragement) (More encouragement)
Nuisance Reminding Stops temporarily, I count or belong only when I Spend special time Hear: “Notice me, involve me.”

Undue Attention
Show off - Annoyed Coaxing but later am getting attention, when Provide opportunities to “I care about you and _____
Clown resumes same others notice me. contribute. (Example: I care about you and will
Disruptive - Irritated or another Teach connection skills spend time with you later.”)
Pesters disturbing Set up routines Redirect by assigning a task so child
Interrupts behavior Family meetings. can gain useful attention
Use problem-solving
Touch without words
Set up nonverbal signals.
Acts pitiful - Worried Reminding Acts incapable or I count or belong only when I’m Make room for learning Set up routines
Acts helpless Taking Responsibility even more keeping others busy with me. from mistakes. Use problem solving.
Acts scared - Guilt Making excuses for the demanding I am special. Become “incompetent” Take time for training

Acts whiny child often with I’m not sure I can do it for Avoid special service or Allow disappointment and
Demanding - Sorry for Doing things for the engaging drama myself, “Do it for me.” pampering. frustration as new skills are
child he/she could do Provide opportunities to learned.
- Responsible for him/herself contribute Promote autonomy
for Family meetings. Practice self respect
Defiant Fighting Intensifies I count or belong only when I’m Provide opportunities to Hear: “Let me help, give me choices”
Argumentative - Challenged Forcing behavior boss, in control, or proving contribute in useful Let routines be the boss

Misguided power
Passive - Giving in Defiant - no one can boss me. ways Don’t fight and don’t give in.
aggressive - Defeated Thinking “You can’t compliance “You can’t make me.” Set a few reasonable limits Withdraw from conflict (leave and
Apathetic get away with it” or Feels he/she’s won “You can’t stop me.” (kind and firm) calm down)
Bossy - Provoked “I’ll make you” when adult is Give choices Redirect to positive power by asking
Takes over Wanting to be right upset. Develop mutual respect for help
leadership of -Indignation Wanting to be in Passive power Mutual problem solving. Be firm and kind
any group charge/control Practice follow through Act, don’t talk
- (Angry) Punishing Family meetings. Decide what you will do (vs. what
child should do)
Use positive time outs
Hurtful Retaliating Retaliates I don’t think I belong (or count) Teach/ use self soothing Hear: “I’m hurting”
Vindictive - Hurt Getting even Intensifies so I’ll hurt others as I feel and calming tools Connect: acknowledge feelings.
Rude Punishing Escalates the same hurt. Show you care Emotional honesty

Abusive - Disbelieving Play victim - thinking behavior or I can’t be liked or loved. Build relationship Make amends
Self destructive “How could you do chooses another Teach & use I statements Teach to make amends
- Spiteful this to me?” weapon Avoid blame or shame Avoid acting on hurt feelings
Encourage strengths Avoid punishment and retaliation
- (Angry) Avoid taking sides Clear and appropriate follow
Family meetings through
Withdrawal Compare child to others Retreats further I can’t count or belong because Give responsibilities Hear: “Don’t give up on me”
Indifferent to - Discouraged Criticize Passive I’m inferior to others. Show confidence Show small steps

Inadequacy or
Avoidance of
work Doing for the child No response It’s no use trying because if I did Show faith Remind of past successes and
Pessimism - Futility Giving up No improvement others would find out how Teach routines strengths
Hopelessness inferior I am. Teach how to break tasks Show faith and confidence
- Helpless I’m not perfect, so I’ll convince into smaller pieces Take care of yourself and get
(low energy) others not to expect anything Model mistakes: it is okay support.
of me. to be imperfect Enjoy the child.
Family meetings