We usually think of the environment in terms of the landscape, biological systems and the behavior of weather. In general, we prepare for what the seasons bring through the year. When in Oklahoma during the winter, it is wise to keep coats and window scrapers handy. In southern Florida, we pack the sunscreen. Each environment requires a certain plan.
The environments of home, school and work are also in need of a plan. The dynamics of a classroom or living room are brewing with personalities and expectations. Each person in the room has their own, which may entail a contradictory idea of what is needed for good behavior. But unlike the outside weather that we are at the mercy of, a system for goal-oriented behavior can be built.
Just as with the rain and wind, personalities will not be changed. However, the direction of behavior can be adjusted. In home, work or school we have the advantage of self control. For example, a mother of two young boys can make a choice as to how she is going to react towards misbehavior. This may take a certain degree of conditioning in therapy sessions, but it can happen. She is not fighting a tornado. She’s not changing atmospheric forces or the way bees pollinate. It’s all about change in her own behavior.
Our personal expectations can be adjusted when we take stock of the current direction and how much energy is spent on unproductive behavior. Upon review, we can see what good behaviors need to be encouraged more often. Whether with visuals or positive responses, the good behaviors can be systematically fed and conditioned to be a regular thing.
In quite a few cases, I have helped parents, caregivers and teachers decrease the rate of aggression and other negative behaviors through the method of starving them through lack of attention. It takes a consistent effort by the adult, but children eventually see how much of their own energy is being wasted on dysfunctional forms of action. Even teenagers have started to use wristwatches or clocks to help themselves increase good behavior. But the environment of home, school or work has to be constructed for such a demand.