Why I do it

Positive Behaviour structure and strategies

Positive behaviour structure is an evidence-based approach where the goal is to reduce challenging behaviours by improving communication, identifying triggers and modelling appropriate behaviours to individuals. Positive reinforcement encourages prosocial behaviours and increases responsibility. At the same time, positive reinforcement reduces and eliminates undesirable behaviours such as hitting, screaming as well as minimising defiance against following rules.

Reinforcing negative behaviour

The two most common ways adults reinforce negative attention.

Getting attention is a powerful reinforcer to a child whether it is from another child or an adult and at times adults can accidentally reinforce the negative attention seeking behaviour by giving the child attention when they are displaying undesirable behaviours such as shouting, crying or kicking. While the attention received may be negative attention the outcomes of any attention has been achieved by the child.

Another common way where adults reinforce negative behaviour is by giving in to the child, especially when the child has displayed negative behaviours such as whining or crying to get the adult to change their mind. An example of a scenario is when a parent and child is out shopping and the child wants a treat and the parent says “no” causing the child to scream and cry. To stop the screaming and crying the parent gives the child the treat which now has, unknownly and inadvertently, reinforced the screaming and crying as a behaviour to get what the child wants.


Why it is important to address challenging behaviours

If a child’s behaviour issues continue throughout their childhood, the child could –

  • Develop poor self-esteem
  • Poor self-perception
  • Experience social isolation
  • Have difficulties with self- regulation
  • School/academic difficulties
  • Difficulty in the following the instruction
  • Anti-social behaviours


Why is it important to have behaviour management plans?

  • Encourages positive relationships
  • Sets clear behaviour expectations
  • Teaches interpersonal skills
  • Promotes inclusiveness
  • Improves the home, school and daycare environments
  • Helps with transitions within the life
  • Allows the child to achieve their full potential
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Reinforces positive behaviours
  • Develops skills for a child to be less impulsive
  • A child will tend to seek positive experiences and outcomes
  • Develops strong emotional regulation skills
  • Improves instructional methods
  • Formulates behaviour expectations
  • Monitors the behaviour efficacy with data
  • Highlights areas where a child may require extra support
  • Identifies where additional risk plans are required

References –

Luiselli, J., Putnam, R., Handler, M. and Feinberg, A. (2005). Whole‐school positive behaviour support: effects on student discipline problems and academic performance. Educational Psychology, 25(2-3), pp.183-198.

McGill, P., Bradshaw, J. and Hughes, A. (2007). Impact of Extended Education/Training in Positive Behaviour Support on Staff Knowledge, Causal Attributions and Emotional Responses. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 20(1), pp.41-51.

Protectivebehaviourswa.org.au. (2018). Professional Training | Protective Behaviours WA. [online] Available at: https://www.protectivebehaviourswa.org.au/professional-training.

Wright, J. (2018). Behavior Motivation | Behavioral Intervention | Intervention Central. [online] Interventioncentral.org. Available at: https://www.interventioncentral.org/behavioral-intervention-modification.