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Behavior Management Discipline Agreement Policy


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Behavior Management Discipline Agreement Policy

  1. 1. BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT AND DISCIPLINE AGREEMENT The Agency is responsible for protecting children/youth from abusive, inappropriate or ineffective behavioral control measures. Agency staff will share appropriate behavior techniques and resources with our staff, foster parents, children in our care, and other interested parties. These techniques will be shared with foster parents by providing copies of policies, behavior specific trainings, behavior methodology, etc. Utilizing the “Love and Logic” curriculum and Common Sense Parenting some of the ways you can eliminate and/or reduce inappropriate behavior with children/youth are listed below. Whenever possible, foster parents and agency staff are encouraged to practice these principles on a consistent basis. BE FIRM, CONSISTENT AND KIND: Remember the power of praise and reward. Use a positive attitude and not a punitive one in dealing with a child/youth. Establish clear ground rules when the child is young and keep those rules with appropriate amendments. As the child matures and improves in judgment, give him/her more leeway. NEVER put down the child/youth. Do not degrade the child/youth – It is important to MAINTAIN the self-esteem of the child/youth. LISTEN: Listen actively to your child/youth. This sets a good example and helps the child/youth feel important and valued. Remember, if you do not want a child/youth to tune you out, do not tune out the child/youth. DO NOT HAGGLE OR NEGOTIATE OVER SMALL THINGS: Make a clear decision. Right or wrong, it is better than haggling. Decision-making is a chore for youngsters. Encourage him/her to make a decision, but be patient with him/her as they try to think it through. If the child/youth makes a decision, accept it. If the child/youth hesitates and shows indecision, only then make the decision for the child/youth. Build mutual respect as each child/youth learns to make choices and learns to understand behavior consequences. GIVE THE CHILD/YOUTH CHORES: Keep the chore appropriate, and keep clear guidelines as to who will do what and when. Select one or two chores to give a child. Be prepared; assigning and teaching a child/youth how to successfully complete chores will take time and patience. Goodwill and many calm reminders may be necessary to get those chores done. Parents who share duties and chores with their child/youth help to build self-discipline and a sense of responsibility. HELP THE CHILD REMEMBER: Many children/youth are distractible and forgetful. Keep a short list of tasks. A list is impersonal, and the child/youth will gain satisfaction as he/she checks off those tasks that he/she completes. Use picture cues and prominently place calendar, or environmental reminders (i.e. after supper, feed the dog; when sister brings the dishes, you load the dishwasher). These techniques are memory boosters. BE PREPARED TO ACCEPT THE ABSENT MINDEDNESS OF MOST CHILDREN: Often children/youth do not process multiple requests quickly or accurately. Before making a request, it helps if parents first make sure they have their child/youth’s attention. Watch to see where the child/youth lays the item they were using. Check later to see if the item has been put away; if not, give a calm reminder to put it in its proper place. Most importantly, allow the child/youth only what he/she can manage. Too many toys, clothes, shoes, etc. are distracting and cannot be managed comfortably. Provide things only as they are needed, and teach the child/youth that everything has a time and place for its return. Latest Revision 06/01/09 Page 1 of 4 file: CPA Policies/Forms/Parent Files/Behavioral-Dis Agreement
  2. 2. STRETCH THE ATTENTION SPAN: Rewarding non-hyperactive behavior is the key to preparing children for school. Matching pictures is an excellent way to build a child’s memory concentration skills. The child can be shown pictures in a book and be rewarded for memorizing them. Games of increasing difficulty can be taught. As an example, start with building blocks and progress eventually to dominoes, card games and dice games etc. AVOID A POWER STRUGGLE OVER REPEATED DIRECTIONS: Give a command one to three times as needed, but say it each time as though it was the first. Speak clearly and slowly, use a gentle touch, make good eye contact and keep an encouraging expression. After the parent has stated his/her wish in a simple, clear command, the child/youth can be asked to repeat what was said. As soon as the child/youth does what was asked, the parent should simply say, “Thank you, I appreciate your doing what I asked.” One of the most potent motivations is a verbal response indicating your pride and acceptance of the child’s efforts. HELP YOUR CHILD ORGANIZE: Many youngsters are erratic in their approach to problem solving and present themselves as being disorganized. They may have great difficulty relating an event in its proper sequence. Keep a calm, structured, and predictable home existence. Be firm and consistent about routine chores and schedules for meals, homework, bedtime, etc. Routines and schedules help your child/youth accept order and become more predictable. Minimize distractions and provide a place, a time, and the tools for a task’s completion. Help him/her know where to begin, when to end, and how to express who, what, when and where. Again, a calm, uncritical manner should be the rule. DIFFICULTY WAITING: Because of the child/youth’s impulsivity, fear of forgetting and/or being forgotten, he/she will speak and act out of turn. Give the child/youth a turn!! Some interruptions may be allowed. If you have permitted some lack of good manners, and provided warnings and cues to help the child/youth realize he/she did interrupt, and the child/youth continues to interrupt inappropriately, then the child/youth may be disciplined by being excluded from the activity. PREVENT PROBLEMS WHENEVER POSSIBLE: Keep in mind that children/youth usually do not intend to be defiant. They probably mean to do the right thing. It is best to try to prevent problems rather than dealing with them after they occur. Recognize that it may be more beneficial for your child/youth to stay home with a baby-sitter than to stay in a crowded daycare facility or attend an over-stimulating wedding reception. The idea is to avoid situations that could be embarrassing until he/she learns a measure of self-control. More stimulating situations may be introduced gradually. AVOID FATIGUE: When children/youth are tired, their self-control breaks down. Rest, relaxation, and regular routines are particularly needed for children/youth. PROVIDE OUTLETS FOR THE RELEASE OF EXCESS ENERGY: Because their energy should not be bottled up, children/youth need daily constructive and creative activities that may include running, biking, swimming, sports, etc.; a fenced yard helps. In bad weather, provide a recreation room where they can do as they please without criticism for their noise or activity level. ACCEPT YOUR CHILD’S LIMITATIONS, RECOGNIZE STRENGTHS AND HELP OTHERS TO DO THE SAME: Undue criticism or attempts to change the energetic youngster into a “model” child/youth may cause more harm than good. Since many behaviors are not intentional, do not expect to completely eliminate them – just try to teach reasonable control. Nothing is more helpful for the child than having a tolerant, low-key family who respects the child/youth and allows the child/youth to respect him/herself. Latest Revision 06/01/09 Page 2 of 4 file: CPA Policies/Forms/Parent Files/Behavioral-Dis Agreement
  3. 3. PRAISE OR PUNISHMENT MUST BE IMMEDIATE: The longer the interval between the child/youth’s behavior and the time he/she gets feedback, the more opportunity there is for him/her to skip to another event and fail to make the feedback relevant. The cardinal rule is to focus on the behavior and not the child/youth or the child/youth’s self-esteem. Since children/youth cannot handle many rules, the family needs a few clear and consistent ones. Punishment should be short in duration. Children/youth need to see adult role models exhibiting control and calmness in order to learn how to decrease their own aggressive behavior. Avoid situations that may encourage inappropriate behaviors. APPROPRIATE BEHAVIORS SHOULD BE REWARDED BUT NOT BOUGHT: Reward appropriate behavior with such things as special time or privileges with parents or another favorite person. If he/she gets up 15 minutes late, then he/she should be required to go to bed 15 minutes early that night. The more tangible rewards such as money, toys and candy can be used as a starting place to get the child/youth’s attention, but soon they should be replaced by social and personal rewards. BE OBSERVANT- KEEP IN MIND WHAT WORKS – USE IT OVER AND OVER: Avoid negative comments. Do not assume that the child/youth understands what you want. Make an effort to explain clearly what is expected so the child/youth can comply, i.e. “Put the clothes in the dryer and then you can watch TV, or else the TV will be turned off.” Define what a “clean room” is or what “Be good in the store” means. The child/youth can direct himself toward appropriate behavior if someone helps him understand what is expected. Latest Revision 06/01/09 Page 3 of 4 file: CPA Policies/Forms/Parent Files/Behavioral-Dis Agreement
  4. 4. PUNISHMENT & DISCIPLINE “SHALL NOTS” Below is a list of punishments and discipline measures that cannot occur with children/youth in foster care.  Slap or Spank - Physical punishment must not be used with any child/youth in foster care or adoptive placements  Force a child to perform any form of physical exercise, such as running laps or doing sit ups or push ups, etc. as a means of controlling or managing a child’s behavior.  Force a child to hold a physical position such a kneeling, squatting, or standing with arms outstretched.  Perform any “unproductive work” such as moving rocks or logs from one pile to another or digging a hole and filling it in.  Physical Injury Due to Discipline – Discipline measures must not include physical injury to a child/youth  Allow Other Children/Youth to Discipline – Only adult caregivers may discipline a child/youth  Harsh, Cruel, Unusual, Unnecessary, Demeaning or Humiliating Punishment – Stop and consider the punishment and ensure it is not harsh, cruel, unusual, unnecessary or demeaning to the child/youth  Deny Food, Mail or Visits as Punishment - Children/youth must not be denied food that meets their nutritional needs, mail or visits with their families as punishment  Loss of Placement – Children/youth must not be threatened with the loss of placement  Using sarcastic humor or verbal abuse.  Pinching, pulling hair, biting or shaking a child.  Putting anything in or on a child’s mouth, such as soap or tape.  Humiliating, shaming, ridiculing, rejecting, or yelling at a child.  Subjecting a child to abusive or profane language.  Punishment or Restriction Without Understanding the Problem – Children/youth must not be punished or restricted without a clear explanation of why the discipline occurred at the time  Restriction for 24+ Hours – Children/youth must not be restricted for more than a 24-hour period without documentation of the restriction in the child/youth’s notes  Seclusion of a child – Children/youth must not be placed in a locked room, such as a dark room, bathroom, or closet.  Confining a child to a highchair, box, or similar furniture or equipment as discipline or punishment.  Threatening a child with the use of emergency behavior intervention.  Mechanical Restraint of a Child – Using a device such as a car seat or high chair to restrain a child is not allowed.  Emergency Medications – Meds that are typically used in hospitals to immediately control behavior. Occurrences of the above referenced punishments or techniques may warrant an investigation of the foster family home and removal of children/youth. Consequences could potentially lead to disciplinary actions, closure of the foster home and/or criminal investigations. I/We have read and agree to use none of the punishments listed above on any child placed in our home by Jonathan’s Place. THE CLIENT DATE THE CLIENT DATE Latest Revision 06/01/09 Page 4 of 4 file: CPA Policies/Forms/Parent Files/Behavioral-Dis Agreement