Times have changed a great deal in the past few decades. For the most part, these changes have had a negative impact on the behavior of youth at all levels. If we are going to effectively support the behaviors demonstrated by youth, it is critical for adults to examine behaviors in light of all of the societal changes that have taken place over the years. Understanding behavior does not mean we accept it. By shifting our perspective, we are in a better place to design effective strategies, which will lead to positive behavior change.

As humans, we are creatures of habit. Adults will naturally have a predisposition to discipline children the same way in which they were disciplined. This creates problems due to the societal changes that have impacted behavior. Most adults grew up in a compliance-based system. (Because I said so. That’s why.) Although compliance-based discipline was an effective method for changing behavior in past decades, it is not the most effective way to change behavior currently. Compliance-based discipline is an effective method for the children who rarely misbehave. However, when we examine the effectiveness of these methods with youth who demonstrate more challenging behaviors, the results are not as favorable.

It is for this reason the majority of Dan’s work focuses on helping adults understand how times have changed, how these changes have impacted the behavior of youth, and most importantly, how best to design strategies to support long-term behavioral change, vs. short-term compliance.