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putting shoes on....

How to Get Your Child to Think for Themselves - By Jill Brennan

Do you find that you're continually telling your children what to do? Brush your teeth, put your plate away, make your bed, don’t forget your hat, put on your shoes…sometimes the list feels endless.

I don’t know what it is about putting on shoes but I used to have battles with both my children to put their shoes on. I remember one time screaming at Jake to put his shoes on because I had told him, maybe 10 times to do it and he hadn’t.

He was playing or getting distracted or pretending he didn’t know how. Then I lost it, he burst into tears and his shoes still weren’t on.

I’m sure the neighbors must have thought I was balmy yelling about shoes! Before I became a mother I would never thought that I could end up screaming about something so trivial.

After I thought about what had happened and I was shocked that I had exploded over such a simple thing but as any parent knows it’s the simple things that trip you up. The positive out of all of that was that I knew there had to be a better way.

I started off by asking Jake to put his shoes on and then just expecting him to do it. I refused to repeatedly tell him what to do. That helped but it wasn’t quite enough.
 
Then I started asking him what he needed to do to get ready and after a short period of time, bingo! He got that going out meant shoes on. Sure there was the odd grumble but nothing like before.
 
If you’re tired of being your child’s personal alarm then try asking them questions instead. Questions like ‘what do you need to do to get ready?’ if you’re going out somewhere.
 
Or ‘what do you do after you’ve finished your dinner?’ when they get up and walk away from the dinner table with their plate and glass sitting here they left them.
 
Or ‘do you have everything you need?’ when they're about to begin their homework or go outside and play ball.

What's the difference between these 2 approaches?
 
Well the first means you have to do all the thinking and all your child has to do is follow your instructions (it’s surprising how difficult that sometimes can seem for your child!).
 
Don’t get me wrong there's a time and place for straight out instructions but in many instances there's a better way and that way is by asking questions in order to get your child to think for themselves about what they're doing and what they need to do next.
 
If you consistently use this strategy then over time you'll not even need to ask the question to prompt them into action. They will just do what needs to be done. No, really, it does work. Give it a try, you may be surprised.

I’ve been following the ask, don’t tell strategy for some time now with my two boys & ok, we do have the odd hiccough in the system but on the whole it works well & saves me the endless round of rote orders.

The best evidence I have that it works is that when we're getting ready in the morning & I tell them I’m going upstairs to brush my teeth they know that's their cue to put on their shoes, collect their bags & lunch boxes & strap themselves into the car. Then I come down & off we go. It makes getting out the door soooo much easier.
There's still the odd drama about which shoe goes on which foot or delays while they negotiate which toys to select & take with them in the car but even in amongst all that, it's still a dramatically streamlined routine compared to what it was & as a result, the odd fuss can be easily accommodated & rarely escalates to a stand off.

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The Most Effective Disciplining Technique For Children - By Neil Millar

Would you like to know about a method of parenting that increases co-operation of your children to 80%, enabling you to spend more time enjoying your children rather than being fed-up with their behavior?

When it comes to discipline most parents think of: chastisement, grounding or withdrawal of privileges. But do these methods work or do they cause you & the children unnecessary anger & resentment that pushes you further & further away from the loving intentions that brought them into this world in the first place?

When we discipline our children using forms of “punishment” make no mistake we're exerting force on them. We become the household police, enforcing our rules & forcing them to do what they're expected & told.

But what happens to us when we're told what to do by a work colleague, a friend or a spouse?

Usually we resent them & do our level best at ignoring their order.

Are our children to be any different?

We do seem to expect children to behave differently to how we behave. When we make demands on them this inevitably spirals into push-&-pull behavior where we may all hold grudges.

As a parent you may then feel the need to exert some form of force to re-establish your authority & make the child do as they're told.
But is there a more effective method than force?

There's a more effective method than force. The method is power. Rather than exerting your force, you encourage your child’s power. The trick is learning how to do this…

Let’s think of their bedroom. Usually this area is a mess. They love it, we hate it. We want them to tidy it. They want to have fun. For years I nagged & nagged my son, then I spoke to a coach working with families.

She told me the trick was in gaining the child’s co-operation. Talking to them about their wishes & desires & then finding a level of tidiness & a system of monitoring & reward for keeping it clean.

I applied the same technique with my daughter. She often spent time with her grandparents after school, but had become rude & cheeky. Focussing on what she would want - she’s 6, so it boiled down to fun, fun, fun - we spoke about maximizing her fun & gave her a set of ideas for doing this:

  • smiling
  • having a high-five instead of arguing
  • getting a cuddle or a kiss when she felt upset rather than sulking

The result, an 80% increase in good behavior. What this meant was instead of telling her off for being difficult everyday, the focus was on enjoyment & games.

By gaining your child’s co-operation you're using power, not force. Your children will have greater respect for you & for themselves. What’s more this method can be used without any yelling or threat.

Focus on what they want, blend that with what you want & dangle a carrot of more time having fun swimming, reading or whatever they enjoy.

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The Top 10 Tips on Disciplining Your Toddler - by Dr. Clare Albright, Psychologist & Professional Coach

How can I support my toddler's spontanaeity while supporting his need to learn to behave in ways that'll help him to get along well in relationships & at school?

How can I discipline my toddler without causing him to feel shame?

1. Learn to say "no" in a firm, peaceful way that carries authority but not anger. This parenting skill will help you to cut short years of power struggles with your child & will help your child to feel secure in knowing that there are limits. Strong-willed behavior & temper tantrums can be encouraged by a "no" from a parent who doesn't sound convincing.

2. Stay with your child when they are in "time out" so that they don't feel abandoned. Many parents leave the area, which can make a child feel rejected.

3. Follow thru, no matter what, if you say that there will be a consequence for misbehaving so that your child doesn't learn to manipulate you. If you change your mind after a child protests, you're encouraging your child to protest even more in the future.

4. Pick 1 or 2 target behaviors to focus your discipline on at a time, such as not playing with their food. It's usually more effective to completely train your child in 1 or 2 areas than to try to train them a little bit in many different areas.

5. Be the boss & don't be ashamed of being the boss in your relationship with your child. If you aren't the boss, they'll step into the power vacuum & this may have long term negative consequences. You could even say to your child occasionally, "I'm the boss."

6. Discipline your child in your loving, caring environment. Otherwise, they may learn discipline from frustrated teachers in the less caring & loving environment of school.

7. Present you child with small choices if you're in a lot of power struggles with your child. "Do you want to wear the white shirt or the blue shirt? Do you want the carrots or the peas?"

8. Remember that consistent discipline is a safety issue. There will be times that your child's obedience to your input can save them from danger. The best time to prepare for a dangerous situation is before you're in a dangerous situation.

9. Don't feel obligated to explain your rationale for the things that you ask of your child every time that you ask something of them. Many parents fall into the trap of explaining the rationale behind all of their requests, usually because they want their child to feel respected.

Unfortunately, this often leads to the child learning how to manipulate their parent by acting like the rationale isn't compelling enough to justify cooperating with the parent's request.

10. Focus on "first time" obedience. Your child is old enough to learn this concept. It isn't helpful to your child to have you repeat yourself over & over when it's time for them to come to dinner, have their diaper changed, etc.

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Discipline for Young Children - by Leah Davies M.Ed

What is discipline?
Teaching & training done for the child.

Goals?
To help the child:

How?
Accept & value each child & yourself
as an imperfect human being. Establish a routine & schedule. Plan ahead for changes.

Make rules:

  • simple
  • clear 
  • appropriate for the child's age

Give:

for appropriate behavior.

Observe each child "being good" & give special recognition when it happens, e.g. "Johnny, that was kind of you to share with William."

Share your feelings openly so that the child will feel free to share his or her emotions.

Read Kelly Bear Feelings often, listening carefully while not judging the child's comments.

Avoid:

Save your loud voice for emergencies. Have a sense of humor, realizing that we all make mistakes.

Be:

Encourage the child to express ideas & feelings. Avoid overprotecting, yet keep the child safe. Provide a quiet place where an angry child can calm down.

What is punishment?

done to the child.

Possible results: Child feels:

Child may become:

Teaches that when you're big you can pick on those who are smaller.

Teaches that when you get angry you should strike back & hurt someone.

Child feels he or she has no control over life & learns to obey without thinking.

Teaches that someone else takes responsibility for the child's behavior.

Teaches that someone else decides the rules.

Severely punished children have emotional & social problems. They feel worthless & have a low self-concept. Examples: The angry child who fights & bullies others. The child victim who lets others pick on him or her.

What are the natural or logical consequences of discipline?

Allowing a child to experience the results of his or her behavior (if behavior is positive = pleasant results, if negative = unpleasant consequences).

Child continually bothers & distracts others.

Consequence: child must go to his or her room until child can come out "happy". (No TV, video games or computer use during this time.)

Child kicks or throws sand at another child.

Consequence: child sits alone. (After a period of time, if the child thinks he or she can play happily, let him try again. But if the behavior continues, quickly remove the child.)

Child leaves the yard without permission.

Consequence: child must stay inside for a period of time.

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Kids Who are Verbally Abusive: The Creation of a Defiant Child
by James Lehman

When you’re standing in your kitchen, and you’re fighting back tears and rage as your son is calling you “b---h,” you don’t have time to do much of anything but react. But when he’s stormed out the door or up to his room, the question arises in your mind yet again: “Why is he like this? Why does he talk to me this way?”

Verbal abuse and intimidation by children and teens isn’t just a phase that goes away; it doesn’t “just happen.” It often has deep roots that begin very early in a child’s development. In this article, I’m going to show you how your child’s abusive behavior may have evolved. Then next week, I’ll show you what you can do to stop it.

It should be noted that there are times when kids can get very mouthy as a reaction to stress, chaos or even as part of the developmental stage they’re going through. They can become testy in their answers to you, and their tone may become defiant or condescending. But abusive children cross a line when they start attacking people verbally, demeaning others, or threatening to harm themselves—or someone else. The verbalization of threats, name-calling and intimidation gives them power. Those are the kids we’re focusing on in this article, and usually they cross the line at a very early age.

Power: The Prime Motivator
Why do kids threaten and verbally abuse their parents? One reason is that when these children feel powerless, they lash out in an attempt to gain more control. Another reason is that they don’t have the problem-solving skills necessary to deal with frustration, to deal with disappointment or to resolve conflicts in a more appropriate manner. Children may fail to develop social problem-solving skills for a variety of reasons, which include diagnosed and undiagnosed learning disabilities, family chaos, or individual temperament. Consequently, these kids often become overwhelmed by the emotions they’re experiencing as a result of their inability to solve social problems appropriately. If they don’t have the tools to deal with these uncomfortable feelings, they resort to name-calling, threats and verbal abuse of those around them.

It is my firm belief that kids also threaten their parents because in our culture today, power has become the solution for the problems people face. That message comes at children from every conceivable source. Movies, music, video games, politics and pro sports glorify aggression and the use of power to get your way. Preteens and adolescents are the most vulnerable to cultural messages, and the message they are getting says that if you’re weak, if you’re alone, you lose. Don’t kid yourself; this is not wasted on our youth. From a very early age, kids are taught that fighting for power and control will solve their problems. And as they get older, that fight becomes a lot more intense.

Now let’s say you have a child who, for whatever reason, has poor problem-solving skills. He sees the message of power around him on T.V., in his community and in his culture. He then learns how to use power in the form of threats and verbal abuse to replace his lack of problem-solving abilities. Instead of having to deal with his emotions and overcome whatever given obstacle is in his path, that child uses acting-out behavior, aggressive behavior and abusive behavior so that somebody else has to solve his problems for him. In effect, using this acting out, aggressive or abusive behavior becomes his problem-solving skill. This is a very dangerous pattern for a child to develop.

How Defiance Develops in Your Child
When we raise our children, we are teaching them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whether we think they’re learning from us or not. Children watch adults for a living. What parents don’t always understand is that chronic defiance in children develops over time, after certain lessons are learned and it can start very early on.

Let’s take the case of a child who was a fairly normal baby. He’s achieved all the developmental milestones, was perhaps a little cranky at times, but generally, behaved age-appropriately. As he gets a little older, he starts having more problems. At about the age of five, he begins to balk at the idea of picking up after himself, whether it’s his dirty clothes going into the hamper or toys with which he’s been playing. If he’s told to clean things in his room, he goes to the living room instead of complying. When asked to finish the task at hand, he says, “I don’t want to,” and that becomes his battle cry. His parents have to stand over him to get anything done. As he gets older, he starts to challenge and justify, his voice gets louder and his tone gets rougher. He gets stuck in the loop of saying, “I don’t want to. I don’t have to. I’ll do it later. Why do I have to do it now?” When pushed, he will do things grudgingly, but only when adults are watching him. And as soon as they leave the room, his compliance stops.

Some parents will respond to this behavior by lowering their expectations. They place less responsibility on their child to pick up after himself. They wind up picking up his dirty clothes every day and picking up his books and toys, rather than dealing with his resistance, excuses and thinking errors. They think it’s easier and keeps the peace if they just to “do it themselves.”

For the parents, this can seem like a really good way to cut down on the fighting. After all, it only takes them 30 seconds to put the books away and pick up their child’s laundry. By the way, that’s a very common response and in some cases, it works out fine. But there are certain children who see that their parents have changed their rules and expectations because they fear their child’s resistance and acting out.

These are the children for whom capitulation on the part of the parents becomes a lesson. The lesson is, “If I throw a tantrum and scream at my mother and father, I’m going to get my way.” For these children, what tends to happen is that they start throwing more tantrums, yelling more frequently and using these inappropriate behaviors to solve their social problems.

Very early in life, children have to learn to deal with the word “no.” They have to learn the feelings of frustration or anger that are triggered when they hear it. In that way, being told “no” is a social problem that they have to solve. Most children develop the social skills of managing the feelings that are triggered when they’re denied something. But when the children I’m talking about are told “no” in a department store, their behavior escalates until they’re tantruming. And what tends to happen over time is that parents read the signals: they see that the behavior is escalating, and they try to do something about it before the tantrum begins. In other words, as the child gives them cues that he’s going to soon lose control if they keep placing the same demands on him, they lessen their demands. That lowering of expectations usually occurs by over-negotiating, compromising, or giving in to their child’s demands. In this way, these kids learn to shape the behavior of the adults around them. Make no bones about it, when parents change their routine because a child throws a tantrum, or verbally abuses them, they’re teaching that child that he can have power over them through inappropriate behavior. And once again, it’s not a lesson lost on that child.

While that’s going on, there’s a parallel process in which the parents are learning, as well. That lesson is, “If the child is given into, he stops tantruming and stops acting out.” For most parents, stopping the acting out is important because its embarrassing and frustrating. And so the parents are taught by the child that if they do what he wants, things will get easier, and if they don’t hold him accountable, even at 24 months, he’ll stop yelling and having temper tantrums. Parents learn to tolerate more inappropriate, acting-out behavior from the child. I call it “Parents raising their tolerance for deviance.” And those two processes, separate though parallel, build on each other and form the child’s way of dealing with life.

Of course, as the child gets older, tantrums take on a very different look. Since lying on the floor and screaming and kicking your feet makes kids feel embarrassed when they reach a certain age, they learn various forms of verbal abuse, including name-calling, putting others down, and threatening. They enter kindergarten and try to throw tantrums or fight with their teachers, and then wonder why they aren’t allowed to get away with things in school. Many times, they have problems getting along with other kids. When you think about it, the sandbox is a very commonsense place. If your child is in the sandbox with other kids and he’s yelling at them and calling them names or threatening to hurt them, they won’t play with him anymore—that’s all there is to it. And if your child is using inappropriate behavior as a way to get his way, the other kids are going to avoid him. If they have no choice but to accommodate him, once again he will fail to develop appropriate social skills. The lesson that he can get his way by verbally abusing others is reinforced.

So the intimidation between that child and his parents, and between that child and his peers, can start pretty early. Remember that there might be any number of reasons why a child is acting out and unable to handle the difficulties life presents: he might not learn to solve problems effectively because he has a neurological impairment like
ADHD, an undiagnosed learning disability, a chaotic family life, or just a personal tendency to be oppositional. The acting-out child then enters adolescence and is a teen whose only problem-solving skills are to talk back abusively, put others down and curse at them, threaten to break things, or even use physical violence. One of the theories of The Total Transformation Program is that it doesn’t really matter what prevents your child from learning how to solve problems—rather, it’s his inability to do this that leads to the inappropriate behavior. This includes the use of power thrusts like verbal abuse, physical intimidation and assault.

The truth is, it’s a core part of our job as parents to teach our children problem-solving skills and to show them that tantrums, screaming, yelling and name-calling, verbal abuse and intimidation will not solve their problems. The reason why we need to step in and help them change their ineffective way of dealing with life’s problems is because the more we give power to inappropriate, verbally abusive, behavior the less prepared that child is going to be to solve life’s problems as an adult. Make no mistake about it, children who use verbal abuse, name-calling, cursing and intimidation, become verbally abusive adults.


Author's Bio
James Lehman is a behavioral therapist and the creator of The Total Transformation Program for parents. He has worked with troubled children and teens for three decades. James holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University. For more information, visit
www.thetotaltransformation.com.

Let Them Have Their Temper Tantrums!! - By Linda Milo

Children between the ages of 1 and 7 are open to emotional hurts. Temper tantrums are a way a young child expresses his frustration over a situation or a person.

When your child feels thwarted, he feels many mixed emotions. Usually temper tantrums are brought about by stress. This stress is anything that disrupts the normal balance of the body.

There are 2 types of stressors:

  • the physical 
  • the psychological

These stressors cause your child to feel a sense of:

When a child feels:

your child will react with a temper tantrum, whining, or teasing to get their way. This is a part of living & growing up.

Understandably, parents make an effort to keep stressful situations out of their child’s life, but this is easier said than done. Even changing a simple routine in a child’s life can create a tantrum.

Thank goodness, children have ways of overcoming the stress in their lives.

They do this by:

  • crying
  • screaming
  • talking
  • playing 
  • laughter

These stress-releasing mechanisms help your child cope each day.

When your child accidentally breaks his favorite truck, he will cry and perhaps show rage. He's feeling despair at his loss.

Crying is a very important way for your child to get out of his system the hurt and disappointment he feels.

Crying energy helps your child to:

  • reduce the tension he feels
  • the stress he feels
  • lowers his blood pressure & heart rate

This is beneficial to his entire bodily system. Parents should try to allow their child to cry out their misery rather than repress these feelings.

Repressed feelings usually bring about physical illnesses & behavioral problems down the road. Most parents understand this & give their child love & support to their child in this type of situation.

But what if your child has temper tantrums & you can’t understand why your child is carrying on?

What can you do when your child is experiencing a temper tantrum because he didn’t get his own way?

Being with a crying child usually makes parents feel angry, powerless, anxious & impatient. When you find yourself in this type of situation & you're facing your child’s explosion, try these 3 tips to create an emotional safety catch for both you & your child:

Become immediately relaxed – hum a little tune to yourself & thereby distance yourself from any emotional stress you may be feeling toward your child. Your child needs unconditional love & acceptance, not unconditional attention based on his crying.

Your child will release his feelings more effectively if he knows that you accept & acknowledge him as he is crying, kicking, screaming, or flinging himself onto the floor. This keeps the very important emotional connection with your child strong while your child is experiencing his temper tantrum.

► Once you feel relaxed, tell your child (not by criticizing or threatening) that you understand he is upset. You can’t dodge all temper tantrums, but you can tell your child that once he is finished with his crying, you would be happy to talk with him.

Now go about your own business, doing anything that brings you comfort & behave as if the tantrum is not affecting you & your inner balance.

By paying attention to your child’s undesirable behavior, you're actually encouraging your child to continue his performance. Giving in to temper tantrums & other demands causes these misbehaviors to increase in the future.

When a child knows there is a pay-off (like a reward or bribe offered in attempting to guide your misbehaving child into good behavior) for out-bursts, a pattern develops which is usually very difficult to change.

Your child may learn that one way to get a treat is by acting unhappy & having bouts of temper tantrums. Don’t reward this behavior because then you'd be rewarding his unhappiness & this would only encourage him to exhibit this behavior over & over again.

Your child would then learn to manipulate you & your actions.

► When your child cools off, or even if the tantrum continues for a long time, pop in to wherever your child is crying & suggest something fun you can both do together. Speak softly & slowly & tell your child that as soon as he is done, you're ready to play with him. Your patience is what your child needs at this time.

By following these 3 tips, you're acknowledging your child’s feelings of despair, you're attending to your own needs by not getting sucked into an emotional roller coaster & you're communicating to your child that by not paying attention to his words & actions of undesirable behavior, you're still around & willing to give him love & support once it's out of his system.

Copyright 2006 by Linda Milo and Empowering Parents Now

Three Ways to Handle Your Child Throwing a Tantrum in Public
by Ugo Uche MS., LPC
 
Picture this: A ubiquitous cashier’s counter at a grocery store. A mother and her young child (let’s go with five years of age), have pulled up with their shopping cart by the cashier’s counter. As the cashier begins ringing up the mother’s items, the child spots an assortment of candy bars on the shelf to his right, and he immediately picks one out. The mother is on to him, and she instructs him to “put it back”. He refuses, and she leans over and begins wrestling the bar out of his hand, she wins.

As she places the bar back on the shelf, while offering the child an explanation on why he shouldn’t take things without permission, the child erupts in a scream as he begins stomping his feet on the floor. The mother looks embarrassed and confused as her head lowers to the floor. Then, after about ten seconds of feet stomping and screaming, she reluctantly hands the child the candy bar, then she hands the cashier an identical candy bar to scan.

With modern day society becoming more informed about child abuse, most families have taken upon idealistic and impractical forms of child rearing. To the point that scenarios like the aforementioned routinely play out in stores around North America and stores around the world. It would seem that in an effort to better rear our children, a significant number of us have transitioned from one extreme to the other. Just because most of us, have resolved to not spank our children, doesn’t mean we can no longer discipline them.

So for those of us, who have been caught unawares by our child throwing a tantrum in public, I have compiled a list of three effective parenting techniques on how to deal with such a situation.

One:
Parenting is a twenty four hour, seven days a week job. Until your child is of age, it never ends. Clearly as the child matures, the necessity for supervision lessens. With that being written, it is important to understand that parenting isn’t suspended once you live the home, it is an ongoing process and you need not be embarrassed by your child’s antics. After all you are not the one throwing the tantrum, your child is, however what you do in response is a reflection of your parenting. If you find yourself in public with an unruly child who belongs to you, simply make certain that your child is safe and nothing out of the ordinary is happening to him or her.

Two:
After you have checked to make sure your child is safe, the next step is for you to do nothing. That’s right, nothing. So long as your child is not destroying property, just continue to make sure your child is safe and then carry one with your business at hand. If anyone tries to interfere by giving your child something you denied your child, (i.e., candy bar) kindly tell them that you appreciate their help but that this is a private matter.

Three:
Exercise empathy, it probably isn’t a good idea to take your child to the nearest restroom for spanking, or wait till you both “get home” for armageddon to commence. Understand that what your child is going through is an egotistical cognitive process we have all gone through as small children, in order to exert our power in a strange new world. Also, by not giving in to your child but still being caring, you are killing two birds with one stone. You are role modeling to your child on how to effectively and humanly resolve most conflicts, and you are also teaching your child that the world doesn’t evolve around him or her.


Author's Bio
Ugo Uche is a Licensed Professional Counselor and ADD Life Coach. For more information about the topic of this article, please visit road2resolutions.com
 
source site: www.selfgrowth.com

Bribery vs. Reinforcement - By Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

I agree. Bribery doesn't work.

However, parenting experts continue to tell folks to reward their children’s behavior. The experts talk in terms of “reinforcement” but sometimes the parent hears “bribery” & as such, parents don't want to participate.

Parents learn that bribery doesn't work; that they can't buy good behavior… & the parents are correct.

The problem here isn't with the parent, but with miscommunication on the part of parenting experts. We need to clarify what's meant by reinforcement & the difference between that & bribery.

Bribery is paying BEFORE behavior is delivered. With bribery, parents pay in advance for the “promise” of delivery. However, with payment already in hand, many kids fail to deliver.

The child, having already received payment, falls short on delivery while still enjoying the payment. The parent feels deceived or taken advantage of, which in turn leaves parents even more frustrated than when they started.

Rather than buying behavior, reinforcement is based upon paying AFTER delivery. So rather than buying behavior, we're rewarding behavior that'as already been delivered. Big difference.

There's a very good reason most companies have policies against pay advances. Even in adult behavior, the likelihood of delivery is less when they're paid in advance. When homeowners negotiate with contractors for home renovations, they negotiate a partial payment to cover some expenses in advance & a “holdback” in order to maintain the motivation of the contractor to finish the job to agreed upon standards.

So the difference between bribery & reinforcement is that with bribery the reward comes before delivery & with reinforcement, the reward come after delivery. This rule is also known as Grandma’s Rule, “Finish your dinner, then you get desert.”

The trick is for the parent to not back down even in the face of the child’s arguments; dinner first, desert second.

Reinforcement is a reasonable approach to shaping behavior. Let’s face it, few adults would continue in their job without a paycheck at the end. The paycheck for kids however, doesn't have to be money or extravagant gifts.

Just as parents appreciate recognition for their contribution at work, kids appreciate recognition for their efforts & contributions at home & school.

In the absence of such recognition-reward-reinforcement, kids like adults, feel unappreciated, then disconnected & then resentful. The same process that leads to disgruntled employees leads to disruptive kids.

Flip side is, reward given as recognition, attention & appreciate after deliver, goes a long way to improving relationships & increases the likelihood of future delivery… on the same terms.

Hopefully this clarifies the difference between bribery & reinforcement. Your kid cleaned up… let them know how pleased you are.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
(905) 628-4847
gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com

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