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Child Discipline-rewarding Good Behaviour, Punishing Bad Behaviour...does It Really Work?
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An episode on Season 3 of The Big Bang Theory on CBS Networks had Sheldon “awarding” Penny a chocolate each time she behaved in a way he wanted her to. This got me thinking. The entire concept looked absurd when seen on television and yet we try to use the same trick with children to teach them right from wrong. In fact, there are many noted child psychologists who recommend this process to help children learn. So why doesn’t this method work all the time?
Many parents realise that there is a very thin line between rewarding and bribing when trying to teach their children to behave well. The reward method is used not just for studying or good grades, but also for meal times and situations which do not warrant a reward. Children, being as smart as they are, tend to catch on to it and start expecting a reward each time they do something right. The solution is to use this method in some situations only, where a reward is deserved.
It’s the gift not the thought that counts. At least that’s what many children have started to believe. No longer does a simple ice cream cone or a chocolate suffice as a reward. The reward has now become the result of a process of negotiation between the child and the parent, with the child demanding of video games, extra pocket money, a new computer and other such luxuries. This will only teach children to take what they have for granted in the future. The solution to teach your child that good behaviour is in itself its own reward, and not to expect to be given something each time.
Sometimes this method might also backfire when children start demanding rewards before they complete the task. This tends to happen when parents do not stick to their promises. You might have already guessed the solution for this...use rewards in the right situation and keep your promise. Sometimes, a parent might promise a lot more than they can give in a bid to get the children motivated. Avoid falling into that trap as it does not pay in the long run.
According to parenting consultant Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, rewards might reduce the goal-seeking ability of children and make them dependant on the system in order to move ahead. The rewards system is a powerful tool in the hand of the parents and it is up to them to use it in appropriate situations for child development.
Author's bio: Antonio Bristow is a self-published author of many articles on child development. In this write-up he tells us briefly on child discipline,rewarding good behaviour and punishing bad behaviour.
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