Parenting is an ever-evolving experience. What worked for moms in the 50’s might not ring true for modern parents in the 21st century. At Behavior Bake, we believe in parenting consciously. This is our thesis of parenting 101 – the idea that we believe should be at the front of every book on parenting, across the banner on ever mommy blog on the internet.
We all strive to be engaged in every moment of our child’s lives, to answer every one of their hundreds of (daily!) questions with detailed, thoughtful, philosophical answers. To give them healthy, filling meals, to make sure they never feel pain, or want. But, it’s hard. It’s easy to slip up in the dozens of tasks, people and things competing for our attention. And when that happens we slip into what comes naturally – the way WE were raised, what we have been told from self-help books or friends and family, all of that whether or not it is the right way to do it!
That’s because so much of ‘what I do is’ is based on personal experiences of individual parents and children. And yes, ‘the right way’ to raise a kid may seem off base, or downright nonsensical. But here’s the thing, there are some truths that every parent can follow and see results in their child’s behavior. It’s even been honed to a science. This science is called ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis, and that’s what we are all about here at Behavior Bake. If it was up to us, everyone would learn applied behavior analysis in Parenting 101
We’re sure, if you’re reading this, you read all the What to Expect books, you wanted to make sure you were raising your baby right from Day One and that they’d grow up to be well behaved, kind, thoughtful children, and people.
Such instructional books are all great! No doubt you learned a lot and have been applying the lessons to how you raise your kids. But here’s something we think isn’t so obvious, or at least we don’t see taught like it should be. And that’s the principles of applied behavior analysis, or ABA. ABA is a discipline of psychology that seeks to not just understand behaviors, but guide them, correcting and modifying what is necessary so that children behave as they are instructed. Sounds like it would be perfect for parenting, right? Yeah, we agree!
Here at Behavior Bake, we are mothers, but we are also scientists and we take an approach to our parenting that is backed by science. So what kind of things are we talking about? Using the principles in ABA, we (and you too!) will look at the data and info surrounding a specific behavior that your child is showing (think of say, having trouble sitting down to do homework) and see what causes the behavior, and what effects that behavior creates. In keeping a detailed record of the surrounding events, you can then identify the triggers or inciting incidents to negative behavior.
When you ask your daughter to begin to get ready for the day and it turns into a meltdown, note what lead up to it. Where was your daughter when you asked? How did you frame the request? When the meltdown occurs, how does your daughter behave? How do you react? What about other kids, or the other parent? Do they play any role in it?
The more detail you can record accurately the better you can pinpoint where the problem is. From here, be completely honest with yourself and create a plan, a recipe for your family that produces the desired behavior. ‘When I ask my daughter this way she behaves that way.’ It’s not some strange mind control, it’s recognizing behavior patterns of your own and your child’s and creating the environment for success!
In a big way, this all boils down to awareness – to parenting consciously. That may seem like a simple idea, but hey this is Parenting 101 after all! It’s the basis of all good, effective parenting. Being present in the moment, conscious of what it is you are saying, doing and how your child receives it and responds. Whether you apply ABA to that or not, it is the most critical aspect of raising your child and family right. Nobody wants to parent on autopilot, well maybe we wish things went that smoothly, but sometimes it seems the easiest way just to get through the day. We don’t want the easiest way, we want the best way.
Our Creative Behavioral Recipes Workshop teaches parents and teachers how to use the principles of ABA to strategically improve children’s daily activities. This workshop uses the unique dynamics surrounding each child to create an individualized behavioral recipe. There is no better day than today to begin learning how to strategically improve the behavior of your children!