Junk Behavior

What is Junk Behavior?
Behavior that is undesirable or annoying perhaps inappropriate but not dangerous or harmful to self, others or properties. It is common across developing children but mostly among children with special needs.

There is a need to teach more skills to get a child’s wants and needs, but not necessary when the “junk behavior” is occurring. To get rid of junk behavior – it’s to ignore the child when engaged in an undesirable behavior.

Don’t ignore completely when the child is trying to escape or avoid a request, demand or a necessary activity. You could use a non-reactive response (short, quiet and calm response -which is to say; I heard you, but not concerned about you) For example.

Student – Hey, I cannot do this fricking math.
Teacher – Tom, if you have a question, I will be happy to help and my name is Miss Jack; when you use my name, I will be happy to help (here we see she gave a gentle error correction and clear expectation while ignoring the inappropriate behavior of not addressing her properly, using the f word, and requesting for help in an annoying behavior. The teacher knew that the student needed help, So, she focused more on correcting the student in asking for help in the appropriate behavior.

Benefits of Ignoring Junk Behavior or Giving a Reactive Response

  • Child will learn how to get attention appropriately
  • Reduces inappropriate behavior maintained by attention.

Few Steps to Ignore Junk Behavior.
Say nothing – for example, “do not say stop that now, quit that or I am warning you”.
Do nothing – do not do anything differently when junk behavior happens. For example, don’t react emotionally by rolling your eyes, staring, frowning, stomping out of the room, crossing your arms, putting your hand on his/hers.

Turn to something else – attend to another activity that does not include the child.

It’s important to note that ignoring the behavior will cause a big temporary increase in the behavior because engaging in the behavior in the first place is either for attention, avoidance or make demands and when the child is ignored, the child gets very angry but consequently stops the behavior, stop causing and starts soliciting appropriately.