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Parenting Resources, Parenting Tips

Come celebrate Autism Awareness Month with us!

What you will learn:

  • What autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is and is not
  • What research-based therapy options are available for people with autism
  • How to begin services
  • 10 powerful strategies that help children with autism learn new skills and handle big emotions.

Who it is for:

  • Parents who have a child diagnosed with autism
  • Parents who think their child might have autism
  • Parents of adults on the spectrum
  • Educators who who work with students on the spectrum
  • Anyone who would like to learn more about autism

Who will be presenting:

  • Jen is an Educational & Behavioral Specialist who has been in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for over 20 years who is passionate about embracing neurodiversity and celebrating all of our unique gifts!
  • She is a Board Certified Behavior Analysis (BCBA) with a masters degree in special education w/ a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder (M.Ed.).
  • Learn more about her approach here:

Do you know of a friend and family member who could benefit from this info? Feel free to pass on the info and ask them to RSVP by emailing:

We look forward to meeting you on March 31st @ 11am!

Founder of Aligned Parenting Services, LLC

ABA Services, Parenting Resources, Parenting Tips

Second Step: Understanding Why Your Child’s Tantruming

Before you begin, I highly recommend you read the blog ‘The First Step to Understanding Why Your Child is Tantruming’, so you can determine the ABCs of your child’s tantruming behavior.  Once you determine the ABCs, we can start analyzing that info to figure out the “why”

So what is the “why”. In the ABA world the “why” is referred to as the Four Functions of Behaviors.  Fancy, right? Don’t let that intimidate you, though. I promise it’s not as complicated as it may seem. 

So here are the Four Functions of Behaviors…drum roll please….

  1. To get attention
  2. To avoid something they don’t like 
  3. To get access to something they want that’s tangible
  4. Because it feels good

Let’s break that down…

#1: To Get Attention – kids often tantrum to get the attention of others. This could be their parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, teachers, strangers.  Just like everything, it depends on the child – and – how those behaviors were “reinforced” in the past.  

  • A common example of this is your child screaming, crying and grabbing at your clothes, while you’re talking on the phone – and not paying attention to them. 

#2: To Avoid or Escape Something They Don’t Want.  This could be an activity (bathtime, homework, etc.), a person (sibling who usually takes their toy), or an area (public restroom because they’re fearful of the loud sounds from the toilets flushing)

  • A common example is a child tantruming after you ask them to eat all their vegetables and they begin screaming, pouting, slouching in their chair, or dropping to the ground. 

#3: To Access Something They Do Want.  This is something tangible and is often a toy, candy/food, electronic device, favorite item (pacifier, stuffed animal, etc.) 

  • A common example of this is a child screaming while waiting in the checkout line because his parents won’t allow him to have a piece of candy.  Sound familiar? 😉

#4:  Because It Feels Good.  We refer to this as wanting to receive “sensory input” or “automatic reinforcement”.

  • An example of this is a child who likes to crash on their backs or hit their head on the ground while they’re tantruming. Sometimes they’re doing this because it feels good internally, but it is not as common as the other three functions. 

Now take a few minutes to pin-point what your child is trying to communicate by tantruming. And remember, it’s very common for behaviors to have multiple functions. In other words, for your child to tantrum for many different reasons depending on the situation. 

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you download the PDF below to help guide you through this process.  When you think you’ve got it, leave a comment below stating your child’s “why”.

Need a little guidance, feel free to make a comment or send me a private message 🙂 

ABA Services, Parenting Resources, Parenting Tips

First Step: Understanding Why Your Child’s Tantruming

The first step to addressing any challenging behavior is to figure out the “why

What do I mean by the “why”?

The “why” is what your child is trying to communicate by engaging in challenging behavior. 

You’ve probably heard me say it before – and I’m going to say it again – behavior is a form of communication. 

So the first step you need to take to figure out what they’re communicating is to figure out what happened right before (aka “the trigger” or “antecedent”) and what happened right after (the consequence).  In the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) we refer to this as the three-term contingency or the ABCs of Behavior:

A = Antecedent

B = Behavior

C = Consequence

From this information, we can determine the “functions” of the behaviors, which is the “why”. Check out the post titled ‘2nd Step to Understanding Why Your Child is Tantruming’ for more info.

So what are the ABCs of Behavior?

A – Antecedent is anything that happens right before the tantruming behavior occurred. Some common examples are:

  • a non-preferred person (even if it’s temporary) walking into the room (ex. sibling who takes your toy)
  • being asked to do a non-preferred activity (ex. homework)
  • a non-preferred item being presented (ex. lima beans, uncomfortable shoes).
  • a non-preferred direction being given (ex. clean up your room)
  • being denied access to a preferred item (ex. candy in the grocery isle)

B – Behavior is any behavior that is observable and measurable. The example we are using is tantruming and for this particular kiddo, it includes screaming, crying, falling to the ground, flaring his arms, etc.). Some common examples:

  • Hitting
  • Biting
  • Self-Injurious behaviors (ex. hitting ones head against a hard surface)
  • Grabbing
  • Property Destruction (ex. breaking toys)
  • Throwing (ex. throwing toys at or away from others)
  • Non-Compliance/Not Following Directions
  • Inattention
  • Task Avoidance

C – Consequence is anything that proceeds the occurrence of the behavior. The consequence is neither “bad” nor “good”…it’s just whatever happens afterward. In the ABA world, we go a step further to say it’s whatever happens after the occurrence of the behavior that either increase, or decreases, the likelihood of the behavior happening again in the future. Common examples (remember none of these are recommendations…just examples of common consequences I see):

  • Telling the child to “stop”
  • Putting the child in time out
  • Taking away a preferred item (ex. Ipad)
  • Ignoring
  • Reprimanding, yelling, scolding, etc.
  • Directing one’s body language towards the child
  • Giving the child a preferred item (ex. candy)

What are the ABC’s of your child’s tantruming behavior? Need some help figuring it out? Check out the attached ABC form.

When you’re finished, feel free to make a comment, or send me a private message with your results.

Want to learn more? Check out the post on ‘2nd Step to Understanding Why Your Child is Tantruming’.

Parenting Resources, Parenting Tips

Your Child’s Behaviors Aren’t “Bad”…

When trying to make sense of your child’s challenging behaviors, I invite you to not categorize them as “bad” or “good”; rather as a form of communication.

What do I mean by that?

We all communicate with others in a variety of ways throughout the day. The most obvious form is verbal communication. Everything from saying, “hi”, to telling someone you “love them” is a form of verbal communication. 

What we don’t tend to focus on are the types of communication that exist outside of verbal communication.

Gestures such as pointing, clapping and waving are all forms of communication. 

Positioning your body towards or away from a communicative partner is a form of communication.

Pushing materials away from someone OR pulling at something is a form of communication.

My challenge for you is to spend the next week observing all the forms of communication you see happening between You and Your Partner. You and Your Children. You and Your Parents. And, instead of labeling those behaviors as “good” or “bad”, separate them into two categories: 

  1. Behaviors you want to Increase (because they result in favorable outcomes)
  2. Behaviors you want to Decrease (because they result in unfavorable outcomes) 

Why should you do this? 

Well, this is the first step to mindfully address any challenging behavior.  Feel free to comment below with any questions and don’t forget to check out the attached guide titled,  ‘Behavior is Communication List’!