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Glossary of Discipline Terms

Discipline is the act of extinguishing negative behavior and the teaching of positive and appropriate behavior through the use of various behavior management techniques.

Behavior Management is a form of discipline that relies on the administration of rewards and consequences to gain compliance from others (usually children). Examples of behavior management techniques are: using a point system, reward charts, time out, behavior contracts, or a token economy.

A Token Economy is a form of behavior modification that is often used in residential treatment centers catering to children with behavior disorders; patients (children) are rewarded with "tokens" for positive and/or appropriate behavior and the tokens can then be traded in for desired rewards or privileges.

Privileges are those activities and liberties that your child finds enjoyable. Privileges can be earned or maintained by a child when he or she demonstrates appropriate behavior, or they can be removed when the child misbehaves. Examples of privileges are: use of the telephone, use of the television, ability to have friends over, ability to stay up past bedtime, ability to choose dinner, etc.

Grandma's Rule simply states: "After you _________, then you can ________." This rule allows the child to earn a desired privilege or activity by first completing an expectation or desired behavior.

Time Out is a behavioral intervention in which a misbehaving child is temporarily removed from an activity and required to sit quietly for a period of time, usually related to the child's age. After the time is up, the child can return to the activity without any further repercussions.

Natural Consequences are unpleasant results that occur naturally, usually as a result of poor choices or negligence. An example would be if a child teases a dog in the neighborhood then gets bit or if an adult stays awake too late on a work night then feels tired the next day.

Logical Consequences are consequences that relate specifically to the problem behavior. A person in a position of authority typically imposes these consequences. An example would be if a child continuously plays his music too loud in his room and his mother takes his stereo away for a week each time it happens.

Behavior Disorders are those patterns of pervasive and problematic behavior that are serious enough to warrant a diagnosis by a mental health professional.

Examples of serious emotional and behavior disorders include:

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Characterized by impulsivity and an inability to focus or pay attention. Children with this disorder are often fidgety or "bouncing all over the place."

Oppositional-Defiant Disorder
Characterized by a consistent pattern of argumentative, hostile, and defiant behavior. Children with this disorder will constantly test the rules and are often angry. These children rarely, if ever, take responsibility for their actions.

Conduct Disorder
Characterized by serious behavior that violates the basic rights of others. Children with this disorder display such behaviors as: fire-setting, stealing, lying, fighting, vandalism, law-breaking, truancy, cruelty to animals, running away, and drug use, to name a few. Conduct Disorder often leads to Antisocial Personality Disorder as adults.

Impulse Control Disorder
Characterized by behaviors that are the result of poor impulse control. Children often feel anxiety before acting on the impulse and it is the behavior that relieves the anxiety. Examples of Impulse Control Disorders include: pyromania (fire- setting), kleptomania (stealing), hoarding, hair-pulling (his or her own hair), or anger rages (Intermittent Explosive Disorder).

Other disorders include:
Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Enuresis/Encopresis. Notice: This is only a partial list. For more examples of childhood behavior disorders, consult the DSM-IV (Daignostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

Planned Ignoring is a behavior management technique in which a parent or caregiver simply and completely ignores minor misbehavior from a child. This works best with annoying behaviors that are meant to gain attention (whining, minor tantrums, breath-holding, etc.).

Coping-Skills are those skills that an individual can use to maintain self-control (behavioral or emotional) when faced with personal challenges, negative impulses, difficult feelings, or undesirable circumstances.

Examples of coping-skills include:
a. Using self-talk
b. Using self-soothing behaviors
c. Problem-solving
d. Using relaxation techniques
e. Practicing thought-stopping
f. Using conflict resolution techniques

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