Photo source: mentalfloss.com, coachalbertlim.blogspot.com
"....and knowing is half the battle". Remember G.I. Joe? Well, that cute little saying at the end of the cartoon actually has some ABA significance.
Many times after my trainings or workshops, people will come up to me and say comments like "Wow, you are so knowledgeable about behavior! You must have PERFECT kids!" I usually just smile and pretend not to hear the sarcasm in that statement.
No, I don't have any kids. But I do have a 5 year old niece who is like my daughter. So do BCBA's, the "Behavior Experts", have perfect children?? Of course not. Are your kids perfect? Well then, why would our kids be perfect??
The biggest difference in parenting between a Behavior Geek and a typical parent is what we know. When my niece is not complying with a demand, or is taking 10 minutes to do a 2 minute task, or is bouncing all over the living room, the inside of my brain looks like a massive computer screen (and my face is of course, blank :-) ).......strategies and techniques are scrolling down the screen and my brain is busy computing which strategy to select. I'm checking to see if the reinforcement system was valuable enough, I am thinking back to what was my original demand, and I am racking my brain to possible setting events or M.O.'s that could have contributed to the current behavior. All of this happens in seconds, and then I make a decision and implement it. Done.
Being a BCBA means you understand behavior and environmental contingencies, and so when the "stuff" hits the fan, you know to immediately calm yourself, and implement a plan. Part of my job is providing such quality training, coaching, and support to the parents I serve that they can do the same thing with their own kids.
When little Andrea flings her dinner plate at the wall, do you react? Do you yell? Do your eyes widen, nostrils flare, and you get hot around the collar? Or, do you immediately set your face in a neutral pose while on the inside, your brain is feverishly calculating what just happened?
Like the cartoon says, "Knowing is half the battle". Once you are in a position of knowing what TO do and what NOT to do, at that point you are halfway to success. Its just a matter of choosing which awesome strategy to go with.