Saturday, April 9, 2011

Teaching Children Behavior Self-Control Using the Cognitive-Emotive Model

This is an excerpt from my book, “Thinking, Feeling, and Behaving: A Cognitive-Emotive Model to Get Children to Control their Behavior.” To preview this book free, just click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Using cognitive behavior modification, teachers and parents can train children to generate an internal dialogue that structures their thinking and control their behavior. Through “thought catching” and becoming “thought detectives,” children learn to monitor the things they say to themselves, and to substitute their irrational beliefs (angry and self-defeating thoughts and ideas) with rational thinking. The cognitive-emotive approach helps children see the direct link between their thinking and their emotional reactions and behavior. The goal of this training is to teach children how to see themselves accurately, so that when problems are their fault, they take responsibility for it and try to correct their behavior, but when problems are not their fault, they still feel worthwhile (Seligman, Reivich, Jaycox, and Gillham, 1995).
The cognitive-emotive method involves treating children’s angry and self-defeating beliefs as “hypotheses” that they can test, and then changing the belief or hypothesis when it is proved wrong. This adds D and E to Ellis’s classic A-B-C Model of Emotions (Ellis in Ellis and Grieger, 1977). In this model, A is the activating event or experience (what happened or the trigger), B is the belief about the experience (rational and irrational ideas), and C is the emotional (feeling) or behavioral (reward or punishment) consequence. Neither A nor C is the determining factor in how children feel; what matters is what they are thinking or saying to themselves at point B (beliefs) about the activating event and/or the expected consequence. At point D, the irrational thinking is attacked for its veracity; that is, D is the “disputation of the belief” (B), or the argument the child makes to counter the belief. When the child disputes the belief at point D, he winds up with a new effect or philosophy (E); that is, the child develops a new way of thinking (cognitive effect), feeling (emotive effect), and behaving (behavioral effect). This new, rational thinking aligns with emotional health and improved behavior.
Ellis, A. (1977). The basic clinical theory of rational-emotive therapy. In A. Ellis & R. Grieger (Eds.). Handbook of rational-emotive therapy (pp. 3-34). New York: Springer Publishing.
Seligman, M. E., Reivich, K., Jaycox, L., & Gillham, J. (1995). The optimistic child. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
The printed edition of this book is now available on Amazon.

A Call to All Teachers:

Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”

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