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Family Behavior Contract Template

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Getting family involved in any behavior modification program can make a big difference. This lesson offers a template of a behavior contract that helps families work together to make changes in their behavior in a constructive and mutually respectful way.

The Family Behavior Contract

Whether you are a teacher who is interested in helping families collaborate in improving children's behavior, or a parent who wants to work on behavior within your family system, a behavior contract can be a wonderful tool to use. When families create a behavior contract and sign it together, they agree on a specific goal and what needs to happen within the family in order to achieve the goal. A family behavior contract can be used for anything from a child who skips school or misbehaves at school, to a child who is oppositional within the home, to relational struggles between different members of the family.

As with any contract, the family behavior contract should be clear and specific. It is important that everyone who signs the contract buys into its terms and conditions. A behavior contract should not take on too many different goals at once; rather, it should be focused and directed, as well as honest about the most pressing needs.

While there are many different ways to write a family behavior contract, the template in this lesson offers a starting point for you to make one that meets your own family's needs.

Behavior Contract Template

Each section of this template is followed by a brief explanation as well as an example if relevant.

Heading

Make sure to give your behavior contract a heading or title that makes it clear that it is for the whole family, rather than directed at one specific child. For example:

  • Nielson Family Contract
  • How Our Family Will Cut Down on Screen Time

Goal or Purpose

Be really clear about the goal or purpose of the behavior contract. This section is important, as it really defines why you are using this contract and what everyone hopes to get out of it. Make sure to use specific language that will later allow you to assess whether the contract is helping you achieve your goals. For example:

  • The purpose of this contract is to make sure that Rob has the support he needs from our family to attend school on a regular basis and adhere to school rules while he is there.
  • This contract is being put in place to help our family reduce our use of screens by at least half.
  • Our goal in signing this contract is to ensure that members of our family speak to each other using kind words and express our anger in thoughtful, constructive ways that we can all learn from.

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