Positive reinforcement is a method of parenting that encourages good behavior as it happens. Just like adults, children like to be acknowledged for their efforts. Positive reinforcement is the perfect way to acknowledge good behaviors and build a strong relationship between you and your child.
What is positive reinforcement?
Positive reinforcement is the addition of a pleasant or desirable stimulus after good behavior. This action will motivate and encourage your child to repeat the behavior. For example, if you praise or reward your child for making good grades in school, they will continue to work hard on their grades in order to keep receiving the same praise or reward. Children who receive positive reinforcement for good behavior are more motivated to continue the same actions.
Different types of positive reinforcement
The rewards given during positive reinforcement don’t always have to be materialistic. You can also reward your child’s behavior with praise and positive attention. If you compliment your child’s hard work after he has cleaned his room, he will feel like his efforts were noticed and appreciated. This reaction will motivate him to continue the same efforts as before whenever he cleans his room in the future.
The use of more tangible rewards has a positive effect on good behaviors also, especially for older children. Older children enjoy more independent play and activities. For example, you can positively reinforce good behavior by giving your child extra time to play a video game or by taking them to do something they enjoy outside of the house. However, be careful not to mistake the use of rewards for bribing. Bribing your child to enforce good behavior often leads to negative effects. Positive reinforcement differs from bribing by rewarding the child AFTER the good behavior is presented.
The use of positive reinforcement allows the child to feel appreciated by you, in turn creating the foundation for a stronger relationship. This type of parenting builds confidence within the child as they strive for bigger and better accomplishments. Encourage your child by vocalizing how proud you are of his achievements. Your child will respond by continuing his efforts in order to keep you proud.
How to use this technique for negative behavior
When your child presents negative behavior, start out by redirecting the behavior. Talk to your child about why the negative behavior is unacceptable and what he can do to improve these choices. As your child makes changes to this behavior, use positive reinforcement by encouraging it to continue. Your child will learn that he receives a better response from you by changing his negative behavior into positive behavior.
As you carry out this parenting technique, be mindful to be consistent. Consistency in your responses to your child’s hard work is what motivates them to continue those efforts. Reinforcing good behavior as you see it allows your child to be proud of their accomplishments, giving him the confidence he needs as he progresses into adulthood. You will likely see better results from this type of parenting method than you will in traditional punishment methods.