Behavior Charts

Updated on January 10, 2010
S.M. asks from Berwick, ME
8 answers

My daughter 8 years old and in 3rd grade is very fresh. She is very disrespectful and argumentive. She is very mean to her 11 year old 6th grade brother. She yells at him and screams at him every time he does anything that she does not like for example sing a song or whistle. She jumps down his throat over the smallest slight, She frequently hits him for no reason. We have consulted with counselors, her pediatricia we have read the discipline books and tried behavior charts in the past. She has dyslexia yet she is extremely intelligent this conflict seems to cause a lot of frustrations. She is getting alot of support for her dyslexia, but I am having trouble getting support with the behavior issues. For awhile her behavior started to improve but lately she is acting out again. Now that she is a little bit older I am thinking about trying a behavior chart again. Does anyone have a suggestion for an easy to use behavior charting and reward system?

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So What Happened?

I used one of the chart techniques suggested below and so far it is working very well.

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answers from New York on

the best behavior chart is one that is specific to your daughter and your home life. make your own, and start simple. keep it simple and specific and start with short term goals and rewards. you can increase the amount of behaviors and the time as you go. start with the most specific and important behavior you want to work on, but try to start with one that you feel she will be able to achieve. you want to set her up for success, especially in the beginning. word it in a positive way, "I will....." instead of "i wont ......". modify for your child, but i want to try to give you an example... make a chart with boxes for each day. one goal. "i will keep my hands to myself" or "i will say please and thank you" or whatever. you should probably start with smaller increments, like from 9 to 11, 11 to 12, etc, or from wake up to leave for school, home from school to dinner, during dinner, dinner to sleep, or whatever works in your home. let her earn what you think will really mean something to her after only a few completed boxes. like i said, you will gradually increase the behaviors and the time needed to keep it and the amount of boxes needed to get a prize. think carefully about what rewards you use. they should be practical for you, positive, and able to be given immediately, at least in the beginning. it will probably make a greater impact if you can involve her in making the chart and helping to decide on what to work on and what the rewards are, with you having the final say, of course. make your chart nice and visible and happy. good luck.

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answers from New York on

Dyslexia is a nonverbal learning disability that can cause an increased level of emotionality. These behaviors sound like they are an additional concern.

You can't chart/remediate what you can't identify. I would spend the next two weeks keeping a journal that includes the following information:
1. Day of the week
2. Time of day
3. Who was involved
4. What happened right before
5. Immediate consequence
This is essentially a Functional Behavioral Assessment. You can google this term and you will find some helpful suggestions.

You then use this information to identify "triggers" that are likely causing the behavior. After you have identified the "triggers" and the "functions" (what is she getting out of the behavior), then you can start a behavior chart.

There is a great book called "The Explosive Child" that may be helpful. I have recommended it to several families that I work with! Good luck and remember that behavior ALWAYS gets worse before it gets better once you start a system.

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answers from New York on

I appreciate your struggles - a "challenging" child is, well, a challenge. :)

Although I don't have input on a specific behavior charting method ( I was never very good a implementing them with my children), I wondered if yuo considered other things that may be contribuiting to your daughter's behavior. Sometimes what we are exposed to food & chemically (cleaners, scents -like candles & personal care products), blood sugar issues etc can wreak havoc on behavior. Some little bodies are dramatically affected.

I thought you might find this Archived Webinar informative.

If I can be of any help, please ask.


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answers from Syracuse on

HI Sarah,
I have a 10 year old daughter that has had some terrible behavior problems also. She has gotten better in the past year I would say, however she still goes through spurts with acting pretty much out of control! She is and has been in counseling for some time and has improved over the past 2 years. She says she has a really hard time dealing with her anger and sometimes just cant help herself, although she is very apologetic and upset regarding her actions and words later on.I have 4 other children also that she is mean and disrespectful to, mostly her 5 year old brother. I tried a certain method once that really really helped a lot that I kind of made up on my own.Because of how awful her behavior was I had to actually do the chart in sections,such as morning,afternoon and night. I made a chart with every day of the week on it and divided the days into 3 sections. If she was well behaved in the morning she would get to pick out a sticker from a variety of selection I had bought and put it on that section of the paper. Then so on with the afternoon and night. If she earned all 3 stickers in a day she would get.25 cents. When she earned a total of a dollar I would take her to the dollar store and let her pick out whatever she wanted(excluding candy,but that was just my rule). Most kids love the dollar store and being able to buy anything they want. I think it was even more special because she knew she was able to do this because of her good behavior. So she was also proud of herself. Sorry to be so lengthy and good luck!

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answers from New York on

I read all the responses about good behavior charts, but no one mentioned that you have a well behaved 11 year old boy. So if you start rewarding the girl for NOT yelling and screaming what are you teaching him? He should get a reward also, but since he will probably get more rewards than her that will cause more animosity. I dont think an 8 y/o needs stickers or money for doing what she is supposed to do anyway.
Better you make a list of the most serious infractions and sit with her when she is in a good mood. Explain that you will no longer tolerate her behavior. Show her the list and explain it to her. Make sure she understands everything on it. Then discuss consequences with her, help her decide an appropriate consequence for each infraction. For example when she disrespects you tell her you will warn her and then send her to bed early or take away tv or whatever you decide on.
It also helps to watch her and when she appears to begin losing control distract her, remove her from the area and refocus her on something else. Perhaps her brothers singing is not pleasing to her ears, well she needs to learn to leave the room and do something else. She might also be taught to ask him nicely to stop or sing softer. Make sure he isnt doing it on purpose to aggravate her. Older siblings enjoy irritating the young ones.
We all lose our patience and temper at times. Its up to you to show her how to redirect her anger in a more positive way. She has a right to be angry or annoyed, but she needs to learn to channel it. Anger management if you want. Maybe she could go in her room and scream real loud into a pillow. Or go outside and run around the house a few times. There are many anger management hints on line that you can use.



answers from New York on

Sorry you're having this problem. I don't have any experience per se, but I did notice when my daughter was younger she was very sensitive to food colorings/additives, etc. I try really hard to serve foods that are as close to natural as possible with a few exceptions. A good night's sleep is also essential - for all of us - not just our 10-year old. I am very short tempered when I haven't had enough sleep. Although there can be many things that affect your daughter's behavior, I'd make sure she is eating well, sleeping well and drinking lots of water. Good luck.



answers from New York on

Honestly, I think she's a bit old for a behavior chart with stars and stickers, that's really for a toddler/preschooler. I teach third grade, and what is common in elementary schools at this age is to have a "card system" - you start your day with a green card in the holder, if you misbehave, it turns to a different color each time and there is a separate consequence for each, yellow is a warning, then there's red, blue and finally black, consequences are moving your desk to sit alone, losing recess time, having to call your parent. YOu could do something like that but that has appropriate consequences for at home.
I am sorry that you and she are struggling!



answers from New York on

child may be this way because of her frustration with the dyslexia. is she in a special school for it? there's a school in mountain lakes for it. how is your school district really handling the issue. there may not be someone truly qualified to teach her.

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