Using the ABC Process by Dr. Timothy Sharer

Suggestions for use

Antecedent - Actions or thoughts that comes before a behavior. [may be internal and not observable.]

Behavior - The way one acts - what a person says or does.

Misbehavior - a way of acting that creates problems and/or puts one or more people at risk.

Behaviors can be considered compliant or defiant.

“Compliance is the skill you use to handle authority.” (James Lehman)

“Defiance is the skill you use to rebel against authority.” (Tim Sharer)

Behavior Examples:

Consequence - The result, outcome, effect, aftermath of any behavior.
Natural: the natural outcome, result, effect or aftermath of any behavior.

Common or Natural Consequence - outcome or aftermath of an action. The price a person pays for their actions:

Logical - a given outcome that is obvious resulting from sound thinking, and directly connected to the behavior. Imposed from without. Loss of privilege
Removal from context, Giving up something such as valued time, Required to relearn, restore, repay, repair, resolve, and reconcile; Suspension or Expulsion

Given consequence - a logical outcome revealed ahead of time resulting from sound logical thinking before initiating the behavior.

Guidelines for Processing Consequences:


  1. Reasonable
  2. Simple
  3. Valuable
  4. Practical
    From: Kids Are Worth It by Coloroso

Four Rs

  1. Related
  2. Respectful
  3. Reasonable
  4. Revealed
    From: Positive Discipline in the Classroom by Nelson, Lott & Glenn

Suggestions for Using ABC's to Change Behavior

Goal 1: Help students to stop their self-limiting thoughts and behaviors and choose mastery oriented thoughts and behaviors.

Goal 2: Stop reacting to misbehavior and start responding in calm, clear and reasonable ways.

Initial conversations with a student might include these ideas - The decisions you make are choices: “Right now this is a small problem. If you choose to not follow the class expectations or code of conduct, you are choosing to create conflict. I’m hoping you’ll choose to learn mastery oriented behaviors to solve problems that do not create conflict. I’ll give you a minute to think about your choice and I’ll be back for your answer.”

Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©