Ask Nurse Lynn: Behavior Management and IEP


Male, 17, Deletion

How can I address my son’s behavior? Lately he gets mad and starts throwing things around, the more I ask him to stop the angrier he gets. If I ground him, he does exactly the opposite of what I ask him to do. Also, at school, teachers have told me should spank him very hard for stealing food. I really don’t think that is the right path to go. I really need your advice as I feel like nothing I do is working for him. Thank you in advance.

Nurse Lynn’s Response:

Thank you for writing in. I am sorry to hear that your son is having behavioral issues.

As far as the school goes- I am at a loss as to why anyone would advocate for spanking him. You should absolutely not do this. Oftentimes, this will not elicit the response you would want. It would lead to increased violence and potentially dangerous situations for you and him. If he is stealing food, I would ask why he is put in situations where there is lack of food security and adequate supervision. There should not be unsupervised access to food. If this is happening in school, additional supports could be built into his IEP.  If you need help with the school, we have a school success toolkit online. I will attach a link below. We also have people on staff that could help with amending the IEP. This could mean someone sitting with him at lunch, someone to walk to class etc. with him to minimize the access to food. The same goes for the home and when he is out in the community.

Behavior management is all about communicating expectations, natural consequences and consistency.

If he is getting mad, first thing to do is identify why. You should do this after he has calmed down. You do not have to agree with why he is mad rather, listen to what he has to say. I think he probably knows that throwing things is not the correct way to deal with frustrations. Collaboratively work on problem solving for the next time something like this may happen. Praise him when you see him making good decisions and using words instead of throwing things.  Do not give into the behaviors. This will create negative reinforcement meaning, he will continue to do these things to get what he wants.

I hope some of this helps.


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