No Such Thing as a Bad Boy:  The Circumstances View of Problem Behavior

Current Status
Not Enrolled
Get Started

About the presentation: 

Boys Town

From the beginning of recorded time human beings have assigned blame to persons who misbehave. The first prominent person to make an alternative case was Father Edward J. Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town, who proclaimed there was “no such thing as a bad boy, only bad environment, bad modeling, and bad teaching”  in other words, bad circumstances. This presentation will refer to this perspective as the Circumstances View of problem behavior and anchor it as the foundational idea for the field of behavior analysis. This talk will discuss the origins of the Circumstances View, the benefits that result from its adoption, reasons why its adoption is not more widespread, and suggestions for disseminating it more widely. Although this talk is not specifically focused on ethics, it will include ethics relevant points. For example, it will argue that superior ethical outcomes can be obtained by using prescriptions (i.e., what to do) rather than proscriptions (i.e., what not to do).

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to describe the similarities between the philosophies of father Edward J Flanagan and BF Skinner.
  • Participants will be able to describe at least three ways the circumstantial view of behavior improves difficult situations
  • Participants will be able to describe at least three reasons why these circumstance’s view of behavior is not more widely used.

About the presenters:

Dr. Patrick C. ​​F​riman received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. He is the current Vice ​President of ​Outpatient Behavioral Health Services and a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Nebraska School of Medicine.

He was formerly on the faculties of Johns Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania, and Creighton Schools of Medicine. He was also formerly the Director of the Clinical Psychology Program at University of Nevada as well as the Associate Chairman of the Department of Psychology.

Dr. Friman is the former Editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and former President of the Association for Behavior Analysis International. He is also on the editorial boards of eight peer reviewed journals. He has published more than 180 scientific articles and chapters and three books.

The primary focus of his scientific and clinical work in is in the area of Behavioral Pediatrics and Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Friman’s work in behavioral pediatrics has concentrated on the gap between primary medical care for ​children on one side, and referral-based clinical child psychological and psychiatric care, on the other.

He also specializes in consultation regarding workplace issues such as motivation, dealing with difficult people, change, and pathways to success. As an example of the impact of his work, following a publication on child sleep problems, the American Medical Association ​invited him to headline a press conference in New York City where he was presented to the press by the Surgeon General of the United States.