Behavior Contract

General Introduction (What is a Behavior Contract?)

Behavior ContractAs the name indicates, a behavior contract is an agreement about the behavior of one or more parties. It is a mutual deal between an owner or the person in charge of an environment; and the user or an occupant of that environment. The objective of the contract is to clearly ELABORATE, the behavior related expectations of the owner and the reinforcements; to encourage, establish or elevate the behavior to meet such expectations by the occupant within the stipulated time.

Usage (Where is a Behavior Contract USED?)

Behavior Contracts are used, to improve of behaviors different settings including but not limited to personal, professional, social and classroom. They are a great tool to implement and ensure discipline in settings like:

  • SCHOOL, where the Student Behavior Contract is set between teacher and pupil; and if required parents are also involved
  • HOME, where parents can get into a Child Behavior Contract with their kids
  • HOSPITAL, where Patient Behavior Contract is between Staff and Patient
  • LIFE, where Personal Health Behavior Contract is for oneself
  • BUSINESS, where an Employee Behavior Contract occurs between Employer and Workers

Need (Who NEEDS a Behavior Contract?)

Behaviors which are highly contradictory to the rules can be addressed by a behavior contract. CHILDREN are significantly more likely to behave in an unacceptable way, mainly because they are still in their learning and developmental stage and so incapable of understanding the “Unspoken Rule” unlike adults. This is why Student and Child Behavior Contracts may be required more than any other behavioral contract.

In fact, Child behavior contracts will have the HIGHEST NEED as it would serve as a great WRITTEN guide for children with a range of conditions like Autistic Spectrum where their world is full of confusion or chaos.

Effectiveness (Why is a Behavior Contract so EFFECTIVE?)

Behavior Contracts are effective when implemented appropriately. They use “Premack’s Principle” or the relativity theory of reinforcement, which states that more probable behaviors will encourage less probable behaviors.

For an instance, if a child likes to play video game or watching TV then s/he shall be allowed to do so after finishing homework or chores. Here in this situation parents are using more probable behaviors as an effective reinforcement or (effective consequence) to stimulate less probable behaviors.

Benefits (How Child Behavior Contract can BENEFIT?)

There are as many as 10 advantages associated with use of a Child Behavior Contract

  1. Clear Communication of acceptable and unacceptable behavior in writing leaves no room for ambiguity or confusion; and therefore, children including those with behavior disorders or conditions can also be helped with child behavior contracts.
  2. No outside behavior intervention may be necessary (additionally or individually) except for children who have emotional or behavioral disorders.
  3. Specific Behaviors and Particular Habits of children can be targeted and worked on to bring improvements.
  4. Behavioral Improvement,as well as its scale,can be measured by parents unlike is the case with other interventions or behavior modification programs where progress can ONLY be monitored but its level is immeasurable.
  5. Little to no costs to you or your child.
  6. A reliable resolution based on the popular idea of psychology, the Premack’s Principle which can be used effectively in certain controllable situations and settings like home; to alter, affect or augment the behaviors.
  7. Not only do children learn discipline but also self-responsibility.
  8. Is Simple to Create (for Parents) and Comply with (for Children) and hence Effective.
  9. Is MUTUAL agreement and NOT ENFORCED arrangement, therefore children are more responsive.
  10. Is easily available on the internet.

Key (When Behavior Contract Works?)

The KEY to make Child Behavior Contract work is implementing it with S.M.A.R.T. Comprising, which is

  • SPECIFIC Behaviors of your child that you want to target;
  • MEASURABILITY criteria, including setting milestones to determine the scale of improvement;
  • ATTAINABLE level to which behavior is to be escalated;
  • RELEVANT reinforcements (or consequences) that matter and thus motivate your child;
  • TIME in which behavior is to be elevated to an acceptable level.

Can I see a couple of samples of Behavior Contract?

Sure you can. Here it goes:

Is there anything you really want to know about behavior contracts? Have you found anything that’s crucial to making a behavior contract work in your home? Let us know by email, our email is: questions@homecontract.org. We’d love to hear your thoughts!