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Rewards versus Punishment

Apr 1, 2008
The fundamental rule for all discipline problems is encouraging good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior. It's a tried and tested method that rewards work better than punishments.

The important thing about establishing discipline is to remain consistent in your speech, your actions and your attitudes. Most importantly, you need to follow up with action what you assert with words. If you are not consistent, you send confused signals to the child. Then you can't blame him for not obeying you. How can he abide by your wishes, if he doesn't even know what you want him to do?

You can't afford to neglect child discipline; but punishment tactics should be avoided as far as possible; they don't work. Try a reward system instead. Rewards don't have to be tangible; a nod of approval, a word of praise and a warm hug can work wonders. You can encourage positive children's behavior by positive reinforcement. It makes you and your child feel good. And, it saves time on the yelling.

Don't know where to start with establishing a reward system? Here are some parenting help steps to help you get started.

1. Both parents must sit down and formulate an action plan. Communication is the keyword here. Make a list of child behavior actions and rewards. For example, you can set a reward for cleaning up the bedroom without having to be reminded.

* Once you have clarity on behavior actions and rewards, you should explain the system to the children. You'll be surprised that even very small children respond to rewards. It's a good idea to actively engage the older children in this type of routine change; it will ensure better implementation and the system will run smoothly and many child behavior problems will be avoided. It will give them a sense of achievement and participation in the household decision making process.

3. Follow through and keep a record. Keeping track of a lot of activities can be hard to do. Use the chart to keep track of where each child stands. This is also a visual reinforcement.

These three steps will help you get started in establishing a reward-based child discipline system in your home to make sure things get done. The bottom line is to use the rewards system more often than resorting to punishment. It is important for setting a positive foundation for self-esteem.
About the Author
More expert advice on children's behavioral problems can be found on Dr. Noel Swanson's website, which is all about correcting Child Behavior Problems. Sign up for his FREE newsletter and 1 hour audio too.
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