The Importance Of Reinforcement In Children

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According to Alan Kazdin, there are three criteria that determines when you need to discipline a child. These would include deterioration in functioning (whether at school or home), a child not being manageable, and the last one is if the child is causing some sort of danger or harm to others or themselves (Speaking of Psychology: Disciplining children effectively). However, understanding when a child needs to be disciplined is not the part most parents have problems with. The problem for most lies in choosing the most effective way to alter a child 's unwanted behavior. With research now showing that moderate to severe spanking can cause mental, physical, and academic health problems, some parents are more confused than ever. Just a couple …show more content…
Parents can either choose to use a reinforcer, any stimulus that increases the action that happened immediately happens again, or a punishment, which is a stimulus that decreases the probability that the action that happened before will happen again (Feldman). Positive reinforcement is defined in Understanding Psychology as 'a stimulus added to the environment that brings about an increase in a preceding response ' (Feldman p. 190). Negative Reinforcement is when an 'unpleasant stimulus whose removal leads to an increase in the probability that a preceding response will be repeated in the future ' (Feldman p. 190). Two types of punishment also exist. Positive punishment is when you add a negative stimulus to the environment and negative punishment is when you take away something positive in the child 's environment (Feldman). After looking through research, many parents will find that closely followed by negative reinforcement, positive reinforcement is the most effective way to discipline the most kinds of children, including those who suffer from autism and other mental …show more content…
In this technique, you would take away something negative in a childs life to reward them. An example would be 'Hey son, you behaved so well at the doctors office today that you do not have to do the dishes after dinner tonight. ' This technique is effective but psychologist recommend using this less than positive reinforcement (Cherry). However, with this method, you are still able to boost the child 's self esteem and increase their good behavior. Just be sure to either immediately reward the child or explicitly tell them what actions they are being rewarded for. Negative punishment is also a form of discipline that is commonly used. This is going to be when a parent 'grounds ' their child by taking away their phone, computer, or anything that will ensure that the message is clear. With both types of punishment, there is a high chance that the child will have a very negative feeling about the situation. This might lead to the child just learning to avoid punishment (Petit). In this method, they might never improve their behavior but instead might just learn how not to get caught. In other cases, you can see the child acting out because they know that it gives them attention. This can turn the negative punishment into a positive reinforcement, just for behavior the parent does not

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