Updated: Dec 6, 2019
When it comes to parenting, PERFECTION is not expected. Each individual is unique in their own style of parenting. Parenting styles can also be influenced by your own belief system, culture, background etc. It is always important however to keep informed and get expert advice on parenting tips that you can implement at home. Just because grandma "spanked" does not mean that you have to do the same. I am always learning and researching ways to implement new parenting ideas with my own kids. How has your journey been when it comes to parenting? You can express your views in the forum section.
While on my quest to learn new parenting techniques I can use at home on my kids to improve certain behaviors I have learned some terms that are use in the behavioral science world that I found to be interesting and useful.
“Each person is unique in their style of parenting that can be influenced by their own belief system, culture, background etc.”
I have provided you with some tips and tricks that I have discovered along the way about behavior modification.
This includes those things that strengthen or increase behavior. For example, praising a child (reinforcement) after the child receives an A on a test (behavior) will increase the likelihood that the child will work hard for good grades. There are two types of reinforcement depending on the addition or subtraction of a reward or negative outcome (be mindful when reading that negative does not imply bad as we perceive it to be but rather the removal of a reward) This is explained in more details below.
This is the addition of a reward following a desired behavior with the purpose of increasing the likelihood the behavior will occur again.
For example: If you are always telling your kids to put away their toys with no success. Here is a better way to handle that situation. You can implement a reward or treat (cookie, candy, sticker, tv time etc) each time they pack away their toys. That particular behavior you desire will eventually develop. Because the child wanted the treat, they were learning the desired behavior. Your child will look for the treat each time they pack away the toys until it becomes the norm to do so.
My Tip: I use Gummy bear vitamins as my reward system at home. They have to take their daily vitamins anyway so why not use that as a reward treat. Mommy is happy toys are all packed away and the child gets their daily vitamin.
This strengthens a behavior by taking away a negative outcome as an effect of the behavior. When a negative result is avoided by performing a specific action, the preventative behavior becomes more likely to occur again in the future.
For example: It's a beautiful, sunny day and you are going outside to swim some laps in the pool. You change into your bathing suit and head out the door. Suddenly, you remember that you forgot to put on sunscreen. You want to avoid sunburn, so you go back inside, get the bottle of sunscreen, and apply it before returning to the pool. You've likely learned from experience that a sunburn hurts very badly. Applying the sunscreen is a behavior response to avoid the negative outcome of sunburn; and so, avoiding sunburn is a negative reinforcement for putting on sunscreen.
My Tip: Kids running all over the house can cause an unexpected fall. As a result of that experience, the child is less likely to start running all over the house again because they are avoiding the negative result that occurs from falling.
Punishment is anything that decreases or suppresses behavior. For example, taking away a child's phone (punishment) after they miss curfew (behavior) will decrease the likelihood that the child will break curfew again. Punishments can be either positive or negative. This is explained below.
A consequence in which a specific stimulus is added or increased and results in a decrease likelihood of that response in the future.
For example: Imagine that you were driving down the street in your brand new sports car. Though you realize that the speed limit is 50 miles per hour, you decide to test the transmission and drive at 70 miles per hour. A few seconds later, you get pulled over by a cop. He writes you a ticket for speeding, which is a $200 fine. You decide that from now on you will do the speed limit. This is an example of positive punishment, which decreases behaviors by adding an unpleasant outcome or consequence after the undesirable behavior.
My Tip: Earlier bedtime is implemented whenever I need to remove an unpleasant behavior. If my child wants to prevent going to bed an hour earlier than scheduled then they will refrain from that unpleasant behavior.
Removal of a stimulus following a response that results in a weakening of that response in the future.
A negative punishment decreases behaviors by taking away something desirable as a consequence of the undesirable behavior. For example, taking away a teenager's cell phone (punishment) after the teenager has skipped school (undesirable behavior) is an example of a negative punishment. The purpose of taking away the cell phone is to decrease the likelihood that the teenager will skip school again.
My Tip: So, if my son is fighting with his brother, I may take away his favorite toy or suspend his TV privileges. By doing so, I will decrease the likelihood that the unwanted behavior will continue.
Overall these tips and tricks can help you to screen and change certain behaviors that are unpleasant by implementing new ways to remove such behaviors from occurring in the future. Hope you found it helpful. If you have further comments, questions or your own suggestion, please do so in our forum section.