Posted May 17, 17
by Jennifer Pierre
As parents, you owe your children the responsibility of teaching them to differentiate right from wrong when they are still very young. This will help get the best out of them and most often determine the kind of adults they grow to become. Many behavioral surveys have proven that there are three major approaches parents use to enkindle desired behavior from their children. They include negative reinforcement, punishment, and positive reinforcement. Of these three methods, child care experts and psychologists always posit that positive reinforcement is the best and most effective.
What is positive reinforcement?
Positive reinforcement occurs when you give gifts, verbal praises or other incentives to someone as a reward for something good they have done. This action is usually aimed at encouraging them and increasing the possibility of seeing them keep up such good deeds or do even better. This same explanation applies to children.
Positive Reinforcement vs. Bribery
A lot of parents incorrectly juxtapose bribery with positive reinforcement, thereby missing out on its effectiveness. Bribery entails promising some material or monetary reward in exchange for a behavior you want. This may involve striking a bargain or even begging your child to be of good behavior. This is different from giving your child verbal encouragement or reward for achieving certain goals that were not influenced by promises.
Positive Reinforcement: Getting it right
There are two main reasons some parents avoid positive reinforcement. The first is that some think the reinforcements need to be expensive. Others believe that they stand an unwanted chance of spoiling their children with such practice.
You don’t need expensive toys or money to encourage your kids. Little things count; just let them know you are impressed. In fact, nonmaterial rewards such as words of praise, genuine parental excitement, and hugs for a job well done are also highly appreciated by children. As children grow up, their needs will begin to grow and expand; the same thing happens to your expectations. Therefore, the reinforcement may need some modifications, but the general principle of positive reinforcement remains the same. The success or failure of positive reinforcement depends not just on the child, but also the adult who implements it as his or her disciplinary approach.
Below are some of the things to note when implementing positive reinforcement: Whatever you are giving the child should be something he/she understands and will appreciate. If you buy what the kid doesn’t want, your aim will be defeated. Be consistent but moderate: As often as possible, reward good deeds, but you need to be careful not to make it a habit. Research proves that people tend to perform better when they are praised for their good deeds, but you wouldn’t want to make it a habit such that your child only behaves well because of the rewards attached. Balancing is key here.
If put to proper use, positive reinforcement can help a child develop self-motivation. This, of course, is the ultimate goal. Children learn to understand that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.