Kim Rehak, Ed.D., BCBA-D, LBS, CAC, NBCC, LPC, & DCC
Have you ever worried about your child’s exposure to media? Do you think about the potential influence certain movies, Youtube videos, or TV programs may have on your child’s behavior from time to time? How about the video games they play?
At a time when we seem to be increasingly interested and concerned about our children’s exposure to the media and its potential influences or effects on their behaviors, it beckons the question, do these same parental controls and parental guidance rating systems exist when it comes to “real life” circumstances with which our children participate?
As you may know the rating, PG (Parental Guidance), may refer to a motion picture rating system. It is important that we realize in many ways, “life” is a motion picture for our children. Would it be possible to demonstrate the same level of responsible concern when it comes to the everyday situations, circumstances, people, places, or things with which our children engage, are exposed to, on a regularly occurring basis? Do we think as much about the potential influence(s) of these factors on our children’s behavior(s)?
Would it be possible to think more carefully about the choices we make as parents? So often I am asked as a professional working in education, psychology, and behavioral health, whether I agree if the rise in violence on television, the internet, apps, and video games (“media”) is linked to the violence we see among children and youth today in our homes and schools. To this question, I almost always answer, “Yes, 100%!” There is much research surrounding the efficacy of video modeling to teach skills (Allen, Wallace, Renes, Bowen, & Burke, 2010; Apple, Billingsley, & Schwartz, 2005; Bellini & Akullian 2007; Bidwell & Rehfeldt, 2004; Burke, Allen, Howard, Downey, Matz, & Bowen, 2013; D’Ateno, Mangiapanello & Taylor, 2003; Kellems & Morningstar, 2012; MacDonald, Clark, Garrigan, & Vangala, 2005; Maione & Mirenda, 2006; Shipley-Benamou, Lutzker, & Taubman, 2002). We actually published a study just last year @TheIIBD and Education Designers (Go To TheIIBD.com, ClinicalCounselingPediatrics.com, & EducationDesigners.org to learn more about these organizations) on this topic and I presented a poster and chaired and presented on these topics also via a Symposium @ABAI in Japan of September, 2016 (Aldi, Crigler, Kates-McElrath, Long, Smith, Rehak, & Wilkinson, 2016; Rehak, 2016; Rehak, 2016).
The same way we could create or use a video model to teach an individual appropriate and expected activities of daily living, prosocial behaviors, vocational skills, and appropriate or expected social skills, media can also certainly influence the future frequency of negative and undesirable behaviors (Aldi et al, 2016).
I add to this that equally, if not more importantly, is how we respond to this modeling (whether mixed media-based or LIVE), in terms of what we, as parents, do to occasion and proactively TEACH our children HOW TO process and make sense of/ respond to these messages and HOW TO limit our exposure and/or mitigate the effects. What we allow our children “to access” on a regular basis, how we monitor their access, and the restrictions or controls we may place, in addition to how WE choose to behave around our own children is all just as salient, regarding the potential effects on their behavior(s). In other words, placing restrictions on media and content, while simultaneously engaging in similar behaviors ourselves won’t do the trick… it is critical that we also consider the potential influence(s) surrounding our own conduct and of those who interact with our children on a regular basis. We can use modeling to help our children establish healthy, lifelong interests and habits (Christophersen & Mortweet, 2003). Our children look to us, as adults, for cues on how to handle and cope with situations appropriately. We need to teach them age-appropriate, problem-solving skills and how to intelligently evaluate situations, to discern safe vs. unsafe situations, more independently overtime, also. We need to teach our children how to make good decisions; how to have good judgment; we need to teach them right from wrong. Children need facts and skills to protect themselves (McIntire, 2012). These facts and skills will obviously differ based on their ages and ability levels, as well as the degree of support required to help them understand and develop these skills overtime, during their childhood experience (Coyne & Murrell, 2009). We must also consider the individualized needs of our children and the environment(s) in which they may participate that we have much less influence or control over (Hieneman, Childs, & Sergay, 2006).
An empowered parent understands that they are the first line of defense against their child’s exposure to potential unsafe situations. It is a parent’s responsibility to protect his or her children (McIntire, 2012; Christophersen & Mortweet, 2003). As such, it is critical that as responsible parents, we work to develop and create systems of support for our children that will protect them, even when we cannot be physically present with them. When we educate our children, our home and community can become a safe place where our children feel comfortable (McIntire, 2012). Whether we realize it or not, we are modeling how to make sense of the world around us constantly through our interactions, the topics we choose to discuss, the way(s) in which we appropriate and manage our own time, how we react to situations, and based on the decisions we choose to make surrounding our own health (mental, emotional, physical, financial, & spiritual) & wellness, EVERYDAY, all the time (Hieneman et al, 2006). By taking care better care of ourselves in terms of our own choices, we can also help set good and healthy examples for our children. Our direct interactions with our children, as well as our choices surrounding their care and welfare, and the activities in which they participate, can also help influence and shape their behaviors in more positive ways (Durand & Hieneman, 2008; Christophersen & Mortweet, 2003).
We cannot control our children as they get older, or the decisions they choose to make, but we sure can give them a great running start. Providing a solid foundation and consistently exposing our children to safe, positive influences and role models, healthy activities, as well as healthy people, places, and things can give our children the positive values they will need in order to make good decisions throughout their entire lives. We can’t live in a bubble, but we can teach our children how to also handle difficult situations and people that we will encounter along our life’s path.
Many parents will panic and tell me of certain life events or situations their children have been exposed to that were beyond their control. Admittedly, others will tell me of decisions they believe they have made that may have directly impacted their children in negative ways. I also see the other end of the spectrum, with parents who will take 0 responsibility and deny any and all accountability for experiences their children have needed to endure. No parent is perfect. Every situation is unique. What is most important is reaching out for help and recognizing the need to enlist proper parenting supports and professional services when necessary (Coyne & Murrell, 2009). There are so many resources and systems of support available, and information is “truly” at our fingertips. We must intelligently evaluate this information, however, to ensure it is reliable and research-based. Sadly, many parents assume their children will have lifelong difficulties as a result of past experiences or mistakes they may have made, as parents. We cannot shelter our children from this world or predict and prevent every situation. We can only control how we handle these situations, and how we teach our children how to cope with, process, and handle these situations also, as we move forward (Hieneman et al, 2006). Our children look to us, as parents, for PARENTAL GUIDANCE. We can use difficult times and challenging situations in our lives as teachable moments to influence and help shape our children’s behaviors in more positive ways. We can also model for our children character development skills, including, perseverance, humility, intelligence, honesty, understanding, citizenship, respect, reflection, and a willingness to make changes in our own lives, even when it is difficult (McIntire, 2012). Our children need to learn how to become effective, independent problem solvers and solution seekers that will become contributing members of our society. They need positive role models in their lives to do this. We can proactively teach and equip our children with the skills that will help them choose to participate in safer and more enriching situations now and in the future and learn how to avoid and/or deal with potentially harmful situations through our own life experiences also.
We can give our children hope and the tools they will need (and lots of practice in how to use them). The same way a football or other sports coach can develop and run “plays” to teach our children and youth how to play their positions more effectively, or the same way our children’s teachers understand the importance of repetition and practice when it comes to multiplication facts, or learning an instrument… or even the same way we would all certainly agree about the importance of practicing emergency procedures for fire drills, we can ALL teach our children how to develop more positive and socially significant behaviors. “Football is family…& Coaching is Psychology!”
Be sure to rate your own child’s motion life picture PG and become a confident and competent Parental Guidance Figure TODAY.
Here’s a quick recap, wrap-up, break it down, in simple and direct steps for me, Tell Me What To Do Tuesday/ Dr. Kim LIVE style.
- Your children only get one childhood. Their present and future, as adults, as well as our future world depend largely on your parental guidance. No pressure! Visit me @drkimlive.com and “like” and “follow” our team @drkimlivesocial for ongoing support in the form of information, resources, events, and entertainment along your parenting journey! The mission of Dr. Kim LIVE is to be a provider and producer of information, resources, entertainment, and event offerings designed to enhance parenthood and childhood experiences.
- We can give our children hope and the tools they will need (and lots of practice in how to use them). “Football is Family” & “Coaching Is Psychology”.
- Our children look to us, as adults, for cues on how to handle and cope with situations appropriately. We need to teach them age-appropriate, problem-solving skills and how to intelligently evaluate situations, to discern safe vs. unsafe situations, more independently overtime, also.
- We can use modeling to help our children establish healthy, lifelong interests and habits (Christophersen & Mortweet, 2003). We need to teach our children how to make good decisions; how to have good judgment; we need to teach them right from wrong. We do this predominately through our MODELING and what we REINFORCE.
- An empowered parent understands that they are the first line of defense against their child’s exposure to potential unsafe situations.
And Here We Are, #MakingTheWorldABetterPlace.
Are you an empowered parent? Do you empower other parents? Tell us your story in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!
Aldi, N., Crigler, A., Kates-McElrath, K., Long, B., Smith, H., Rehak, K., Wilkinson, L. (2016). Examining the Effects of Video Modeling and Prompts to Teach Activities of Daily Living Skills , Behavior Analysis In Practice, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 384–388.
Allen, K. D., Wallace, D. P., Renes, D., Bowen, S. L., & Burke, R. V. (2010). Use of video modeling to teach vocational skills to adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. Education and Treatment of Children, 33, 339–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Christophersen, E.R. & Mortweet, S.L. (2003). Parenting That Works. The American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C.
Coyne, L.W. & Murrell, A.R. (2009). The joy of parenting: An acceptance & commitment therapy guide to effective parenting in the early years. New Harbinger Publications, Inc., Oakland, CA.
Durand, V. M. & Hieneman, M. (2008). Helping parents with challenging children: positive family intervention facilitator’s guide. Oxford University Press, Inc, New York, New York.
D’Ateno, P., Mangiapanello, K., & Taylor, B. A. (2003). Using video modeling to teach complex play sequences to a preschooler with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 5, 5–11.
Hieneman, M., Childs, K., & Sergay, J. (2006). Parenting with positive behavior support: A practical guide to resolving your child’s difficult behavior. Paul Brooke’s Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD.
Kellems, R. O., & Morningstar, M. E. (2012). Using video modeling delivered through iPods to teach vocational tasks to young adults with autism spectrum disorders. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 35, 155–167.
MacDonald, R., Clark, M., Garrigan, E., &Vangala, M. (2005) Using video modeling to teach pretend play to children with autism. Behavioral Interventions, 20, 225-238.
Maione, L., & Mirenda, P. (2006). Effects of video modeling and video feedback on peer-directed social language skills of a child with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 8, 106–118.
McIntire, R. (2012). What every parent should know about raising children. Summit Crossroads Press, Columbia, MD.
Rehak, K. (2016, September). Examining the Effects of Video Modeling and Prompts to Teach Activities of Daily Living Skills. Poster session presented at 8th International Conference Kyoto, Japan, The Association For Behavior Analysis, International.
Rehak, K (2016, September). Examining the Effects of Video Modeling and Prompts to Teach Activities of Daily Living Skills. In K. L. Rehak (Chair & Discussant), Symposium conducted at the 8th International Conference Of The Association For Behavior Analysis, International, Kyoto, Japan.
Shipley-Benamou, R. S., Lutzker, J. R., & Taubman, M. (2002). Teaching daily living skills to children with autism through instructional video modeling. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 4, 165–175.
Kim Rehak, Ed.D., BCBA-D, LBS, CAC, NBCC, LPC, & DCC specializes in her work with individuals exhibiting challenging behaviors. She has provided educational, psychological, and behavioral health services to children, adolescents, and adults experiencing the behavioral symptoms associated with psychiatric, psychological, and mental health disorders, as well as neurological disorders i.e. autism, across the continuum of educational and clinical/ health care settings.
Dr. Rehak is the CEO of The International Institute for Behavioral Development (The IIBD) and Education Designers (EdD). Go to theiibd.com, clinicalcounselingpediatrics.com, and educationdesigners.org to learn more. Dr. Rehak & Associates have been practicing through The IIBD & EdD since 2005 in educational and clinical settings, both nationally and internationally.
Dr. Rehak continues teaching graduate courses at several universities, and has taught at Ball State University, St. Joseph’s University, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Lehigh Univeristy, Arcadia University, & at several other universities. She has instructed over 100 graduate level courses in psychology, education, criminal justice, parenting, special education, autism, and behavior analysis. She was the host of “Tell Me What To Do Tuesday’s”, a FREE service and weekly segment of The Dr. Kim LIVE Show on The Dr. Kim LIVE Ustream.tv channel.
She is also the founder of the non-profit organization, Dr. Kim LIVE. Visit DrKimLIVE.Com For More Information.
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