Listen First (Behavior Management)

Note: This is cross-posted at BobbyCaples.net

This is going to be one of those posts that sounds obvious, and sort of is.

Every so often, it seems I have to re-learn every lesson I’ve ever learned regarding behavior management. Most recently, I had to go back to square one: Listen. I’ve now come to see this lesson as needing to occur periodically in a fairly predictable cycle: I start off listening as a general approach to behavior management, then slowly I start “talking” more and more. Then, I find that I’m talking so much that I’m not listening at all. Then, I realize what I’m doing and go back to the beginning.

By “listening” & “talking,” of course, I don’t mean just the physical act of actually verbalizing vs auditory intake – I mean a general posture toward behavior manage. Listening involves receiving – taking in cues, letting others talk first, trying to first understand before being understood. Talking, on the other hand, involves putting out information into the world.

Both are important, for sure, but I think a lot of us probably get into the habit of talking when you are the one who “owns the goal,” so to speak – when you’re the one who is more motivated for something to happen. Like control in general, though, the more we apply pressure to the world, the less likely it is to change, at least with some things.

So, for now, I think I’m back where I need to be.

Written by

Bobby Caples graduated from USF, and eventually went on to expand the concept of community-based behavior support in other settings, include the organization he founded called YouthBASE (Greenville, SC). The concept of YouthBASE was much like the concept of his thesis, only on a larger scale: Take ideas and strategies that had found success in other fields beyond after-school programs, and import them.