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I have implemented a number of behavior therapy techniques, including time-outs, star rewards charts, and a token system, at home with my child. But I find that, while these techniques work well when I first use them, they tend to lose their effectiveness as time passes. Is it necessary to rotate various techniques, phasing in new ones as older ones become less useful?


Many families do find that certain techniques seem less effective over time, whether this is due to a child’s “growing out” of them (becoming too old for time-outs, for example), that certain rewards become boring, or for many other reasons. As with medication or any other part of your child’s treatment plan, it is essential to monitor the effects of behavior therapy techniques on your child’s functioning—and to alter the treatment if a particular technique is found not to be working.

Your ongoing monitoring of how well your approach supports your child’s functioning, and your willingness to change techniques to help your child, will not only help your family work more efficiently but will demonstrate to your child your concern for her well-being and involvement in her life.

The principles that you have learned remain sound, although you may need to alter some of the details. Whenever possible, keep your child involved with making sure that the reward process remains fun and the consequences seem fair.


Last Updated
ADHD: What Every Parent Needs to Know (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.