Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Positive Reinforcement

B.F. Skinner, the researcher behind behaviorism, described positive reinforcement as superior to punishment in altering behavior. He maintained that punishment was not simply the opposite of positive reinforcement; positive reinforcement results in lasting behavioral modification, whereas punishment changes behavior only temporarily. In my experience, I have also found this to be the case.

You will get better results over time using positive reinforcement than you will get using punishment, and your child will also have better self-esteem. For this reason, whenever implementing a behavioral plan I try to get parents to start by only using positive reinforcement and then if they aren't satisfied with that, we will move to punishment. Most of the time we don't get there because reinforcement works.

The simplest way to provide positive reinforcement is through praise. Here is a link to 101 Ways to Praise Kids

Other types of positive reinforcement include behavioral charts, marble jars (will discuss in a future post), and allowances.

There are certain behaviors where you obviously want to apply an immediate consequence or punishment (i.e. physical aggression).


Laura M. Campbell said...

I like to think more in terms of consequences, good and bad, for actions rather than punishment. It's such an ugly word. I taught for a few years and found when you explained the good and bad consequences of every action, the student began to think through their choices more. Good luck with the challenge!

Tiger85 said...

Thanks for all your posts. I have seen a major improvement in my son's behavior. =)

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