Positive tools for thriving families.

Providing parents and teachers with tips and tools to manage impulsive behaviors in children can be very helpful for the child and the adult.  Managing Impulsive Behavior: Guidelines and Behavioral Charts provides parents and teachers with an effective guide on how to respond to and diminish impulsive behaviors in the classroom and at home. Many parents and teachers struggle with excessively impulsive children and their associated negative behaviors, such as interrupting, difficulty taking turns, grabbing, acting before thinking, poor emotional regulation, and becoming easily frustrated.  Parents and teachers often wonder if the child is choosing to be oppositional, defiant, provocative, and intentionally disobedient, or if the child truly cannot control their behaviors because of impulsivity. Parents and teachers sometimes struggle to empathize and understand these impulsive children as they recognize that the child cognitively knows better, intellectually remembers the rules, and is even smart enough to know that the behavior is inappropriate and will lead to consequences. So the question remains, why do impulsive children do what they do and how can parents and teachers better manage it?

The research shows that ” excessive impulsivity” is likely a neurological issue that is usually more significant than the typical impulsivity demonstrated along different developmental ages, and may not be closely associated with “intent.”

Although medication is an intervention option for highly impulsive children, a structured, consistent, fair, individualized, and timely behavioral plan could also be very effective in shaping and reducing children’s impulsive behaviors. A targeted behavioral plan and its implementation at school and at home can significantly diminish impulsive behaviors over time as the child is rewarded for specific desirable behaviors, but simultaneously receives consequences for unwanted, negative behaviors. Using this dual approach, we give the child consistent opportunities to be positively reinforced and hence, increase the likelihood of positive behaviors, while concurrently decreasing negative behaviors via specific consequences. It is critical to follow through on the rewards and consequences in a timely manner based on the age and capacity of the child. Without follow through, consistency, timeliness, and tracking of targeted, explicit behaviors, the interventions are less likely to succeed.

Sometimes disrespect and aggressive behaviors can also accompany impulsivity. It is important to simultaneously address these behaviors in a structured and focused plan, so that the disrespect and aggression do not increase over time. The sooner you can implement the behavioral program with younger children who are being impulsive, aggressive, and disrespectful, the more likely you will be successful in changing the behaviors to more adaptive ones.

For more details on the markers of impulsivity, associated behaviors, and targeted behavioral plans that you can easily implement in a classroom or in the home, please download Managing Impulsive Behavior: Guidelines and Behavioral Charts. Consulting with and working closely with your child’s teachers and counselors can also be very beneficial, as a collaborative and professional team approach is ideal.


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  • Exceptional, impressive, thoroughly 'kid friendly' from beginning to end, "Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children" should be a part of every community library Parenting Studies collections. For families with young children who are having to deal with divorce, "Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children" will prove to be an invaluable and instructive aid.

    Editor in Chief - Midwest Book Review

  • Those of us parenting, working with, or caring for children experiencing divorce will welcome Family Changes as a unique, positive, and creative resource for helping children understand and cope with this complicated transition. The comprehensive note to adults effectively explains how children work through painful questions and feelings. The touching story—with the endearing Zoey and her attempt to understand a very grown up topic—ends with extremely helpful follow up questions that will be highly valued by parents, child advocates, therapists, and others who wish to better serve children during this difficult time. I highly recommend this book to parents and professionals.

    Sacha Coupet, Ph.D., J.D. Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor of Family Law, Loyola University, Chicago, IL

  • Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children is an outstanding book that is gentle, positive, and validating for both children and adults. With an excellent and informative parent guide about the value of talking to children about their feelings, a highly sensitive and engaging story with exquisite illustrations, and an effective list of questions that children typically ask, this book is essential reading for divorcing families, and for therapists and advocates working with children of divorce.

    Sandra A. Graham-Bermann, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Michigan

  • Family Changes is an inspiring and exceptional book on divorce. It explains divorce in a developmentally appropriate and comforting language that validates children's complex feelings about divorce. Dr. Maker's expertise and years of experience working with children who are coping with the grief and confusion that often accompany divorce shine through in every page. I highly recommend this book to divorcing parents, schools, libraries, and professionals working with children of divorce.

    Martha Crowe, M.A. Child Development, Institute for Public Health, San Diego State University, CA

  • Dr. Maker has brought us this excellent child-centric educational book about how to navigate the changes of a family undergoing divorce. Dr. Maker takes us through this experience from the child's point of view and shares the gift of positive transformation that can occur during this life-changing time. The illustrations are sublime and the topic is handled so gently and ingeniously. Of course, it is written by a child psychologist with the gift of creativity. It's a book that every child therapist, library, school, and families going through a divorce should have on their shelves.

    Krista Royabal, M.D., Psychiatrist, Executive Medical Director, True Life Center for Wellbeing, CA

  • Based on the typical emotional turbulence a child feels from separation or divorce, Family Changes receives high recommendation as the first title that adults should turn to in the effort to explain, explore, and support a child's feelings in the matter, concluding with a list of 'process questions' which adults can use to further enhance the story line's overall approach.

    CA Bookwatch/Donovan’s Literary Services/Recommended Reading

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    NetGalley Reviews/The Fairview Review - Librarian

  • This story is filled with little moments that reflect the nature of children perfectly. If you need to explain what it means to be divorced or separated to your child then this is one of the best ways to do that. The book is filled with relatable emotions and questions that a lot of children will have if their family is going through a separation. Dr. Maker’s years of experience are evident in the story as she masterfully addresses many common concerns for children experiencing a divorce in their family.

    The Littlest Bookshelf