WHAT IS BEHAVIORAL PARENT TRAINING?
BPT (sometimes called parent management training [PMT] or behavior therapy) is an evidence-based treatment approach for children engaging in significant disruptive, noncompliant, and/or aggressive behaviors. BPT is the only treatment considered to be “well established” and is recommended to be the first line of treatment for these situations due to its high levels of effectiveness. BPT is intended to help parents modify their own behaviors to evoke behavioral changes in their children.
According to the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), “Parent training represents a therapeutic approach in which parents are taught how to increase desirable child behavior, reduce children’s misbehavior, improve parent-child interactions, and bring about a positive family atmosphere.”
We’re often asked why parents are heavily involved in treatment for these presenting issues. It is very uncommon for misbehaving children to attend his or her own therapy session, understand and remember suggestions for more prosocial, adaptive behaviors, and then maintain motivation to utilize these strategies when feeling intense negative emotions outside of the office setting.
Because children often don’t have their own internal motivation for making long-lasting, positive behavioral changes, parents are a necessary part of treatment to motivate their children to make better behavioral choices. Other forms of therapy that only require the child’s presence have much less scientific support and are often much less effective. BPT is highly effective for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), aggression, anger, behavior, defiance, irritability, noncompliance, parent-child conflict, parenting struggles, and school refusal, among others.
The sign of great parenting is not the child’s behavior. The sign of truly great parenting is the parent’s behavior.
FOCUS ON POSITIVE PARENT-CHILD INTERACTIONS
BPT teaches parents how to use praise, or positive reinforcement, more effectively, to encourage the behaviors they want to encourage.
And it teaches parents how to deploy consistent consequences when kids don’t comply.
The result is that kids learn to modulate their behavior to meet expectations and enjoy much more positive interactions with their parents.