The ADHD Smarter Parenting’s Podcast

Ep #46: Understanding the ABC’s of Behavior

November 27, 2019

The ABC’s of Behavior is a powerful tool in helping understanding behavior and why challenging behavior happens. Understanding what causes behavior and what to do after a behavior starts gives parents a better way to handle problems. Which, in turn, strengthens the relationship we have with our child. It also teaches them how to successfully navigate the world around them without our help.

The ABC’s of Behavior is an acronym. It stands for Antecedent, Behavior, and Consequence.

Antecedent means what happened before the behavior. It requires us looking at what happened 5 minutes or even an hour or two beforehand. The goal with the antecedent to understand what was the catalyst for the behavior. Did they get in trouble at school? Did they miss a nap or snack? Did they break a favorite toy? Did someone say something mean to them? When we understand what caused the behavior, we can give them tools to prevent the problem. 

Behavior is what is happening. Behavior could mean sulking, throwing things, yelling, or being angry. Behavior is what we want to prevent, change, or fix. Address behavior at this stage is less effective than addressing it before it becomes a problem.

Consequence is what happens after the behavior. What consequences or rewards did they receive? We may be reinforcing negative behaviors by giving a reward instead of consequence. If we reward our child with a sucker after a tantrum, we reinforce that throwing a tantrum is the way to get a sucker. Consequences should match the behavior and should teach and not punish a child.

The ABC’s of Behavior is one of the skills of the Teaching-Family Model. The Teaching-Family Model is one of the evidence-based behavioral methods. Twenty million dollars of research went into deterring what the best way to parent is. It has been used since the 1960s by practitioners all over the world because it works! 

For more information about the ABC’s of Behavior and the rest of the behavior skills of the Teaching-Family Model visit:

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