Guest Expert

Parents Can Solve Big Behavior Problems with Tiny Changes

Imagine the situation: you’ve tried everything you can think of, but your kids still refuse to eat their vegetables. It can be exhausting trying to change their behavior. But Stanford Professor BJ FOGG argues that solving behavior problems can be an easier task than you expect, that is if you tackle it the right way. Sometimes the most difficult problems have the simplest solutions.

In this guest expert interview, behavioral scientist Dr. BJ Fogg sheds light on the way our brains manage, create, and put into action the behaviors we want (and don’t want!) to happen.

During this interview, Dr. Fogg lets us in on a secret; there are really only 3 factors that affect the way we act (or don’t act.) “A behavior happens when motivation to do a behavior comes together with the ability to do the behavior and a prompt to do the behavior” he shares.

So what does this have to do with your child’s refusal to eat veggies?


If one of these three factors - motivation, ability, or prompt- is missing, then the behavior will be missing as well. It can take only a small change to understand how to use this knowledge to encourage or discourage a behavior in your child -- and it will have a big impact.

More specifically, when the time is taken to understand how our brains work, it’s easier to know exactly what needs to be done to change your child’s behavior. It takes much less time and energy to use a direct, targeted approach instead of a broad, energy-draining one. So if your child is struggling with their behavior, taking a few minutes to look at the situation through the lens of behavioral science can save you a lot of time and stress in the long run.

Join Elaine and Dr. Fogg in this mesmerizing conversation as he explains how to effectively tackle the absence of one or more of these factors, the best way to troubleshoot why a behavior is missing, and overcome executive function obstacles in your child’s path. Once you’ve heard what he has to say, you’ll discover that solving behavior problems isn’t nearly as difficult as it first sounded.

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