Ask the Experts: What to do when consequences don't change behavior?

What to do when consequences don't change behavior? I adopted my son, Will, when he was 3. Now, at age 10, he seems to enjoy being the class clown. He gets a detention almost daily for disrupting the classroom. The consequence does nothing to change his behavior. Any suggestions for me?

Susan T., Paducah, KY

Hi Susan,

Let’s see if we can build a whole bunch of skills that are positive and important to Will. Once he has mastered a number of things - even small things like throwing/catching a ball, spelling extra well or drawing at a pretty good level - make sure he gets recognized for these skills. With time, these new competencies will crowd out many of his less mature behaviors. As he grows older there is plenty of time to focus on a more formal approach to dealing with his positive as well as his less appropriate behaviors.

-Dr. Ed and Dorothy

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