Many of us have sent our children to the bedroom to be grounded when they’ve done something bad. Perhaps you are a parent that believes in the occasional spanking when they become completely out of control. We have many ways that we discipline our children, but how many ways do you encourage them when their behavior is positive? How often do you praise your child just for being the well-mannered individual he or she is?
Why is Positive Reinforcement Important? – For many children, they don’t do a certain activity out of fear of being punished. Although fear can be a very effective tool in order to curtail certain behavior, it’s not a positive emotion that should be related to you as a parent. Positive reinforcement taps more on the positive side of a child’s psyche. They love being praised and the feelings that come from such. Instead of fear of being punished, the children will not do the suggested activity in order to receive further praise.
Is it Respect or Fear that You Receive from Your Child? – Earning a child’s respect for the rules through disciplinary action is not respect, it is fear. It’s fear that will drive him or her to not do a certain activity or behave a certain way. Instead of being conscious about your own feelings, the child will be afraid of the punishment. It’s this conscious effort that makes the most impact on a human being. A child should not want to do the activity out of respect for you as a person. This respect is earned in much the same way it is for adults – through our actions. If you want your child to respect you, then you should respect the child.
How Can Positive Reinforcement Improve Your Child’s Future? – For the first thirteen years of a child’s life, you are going to play a prominent role in how he or she will develop. The lessons and behaviors they develop now will make an impact in how life will unfold before them. Teaching the children that positive energy is more productive and reliable than negative energy could mean the difference between a content college student and an unhappy drop-out. Of course that is the extreme case as many of us turned out fine. However, what would the world be like if some of these drop-outs had a more positive role model during their formative years? Could they have had a different future as a prominent lawyer or childcare professional if his or her parents were more involved?
What Can You Do to Encourage Positive Behavior? – Being positive is far easier than being negative. Not only is it good for the child, but it can also prove to be a valuable asset against your stress levels. You can do little things such as:
- Randomly giving your child a hug because they are who they are
- Praise successes instead of focusing on failures
- Take the child out for a treat periodically when his or her behavior is positively maintained
- Get as excited as they are over the small things that make them smile
There are many ways you can enforce positive behavior. Be imaginative and show your children that you’re there for them. It’s never too late to alter a child’s negative perception of the world as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.
Ken Myers is a father of three and passionate about great childcare. He’s always looking for ways to help families find the support they need to live fuller, richer lives. Find out more about expert childcare by checking out @go_nannies on Twitter.