Parenting Principle #7- Behavior Principles

By Bob Kalle

Psychologists and researchers have taken the idea of learning principles to the nth degree. But since you’re not in school and need ideas quickly, let’s be brief.

            There are two major learning principles that you should pay attention to. The first is the concept of positive reinforcement, or a positive consequence. Simply, a behavior that is rewarded will be more likely to occur in the future than a behavior that is not rewarded. If you want to see a behavior again and again, pay attention to it and reward it. If you ignore it, it will disappear.

The second concept is the idea of negative consequences. This is a response cost for the behavior. A behavior that has a response cost attached to it is less likely to occur in the future. These two principles work pretty consistently, as long as you know what a reward or response cost is. There will be some exceptions, of course, but in general, these two principles are pretty strong.

Here are some points to remember when you apply the above two behavior principles:

            First, be specific. Make sure your rules, chores, requests or any other communication between you and your child can be understood. Reduce or eliminate ambiguity. Be clear. Avoid adjectives that can create misunderstandings. In other words, be behaviorally specific.

            Second, be consistent. Follow through with what you say each and every time. Inconsistency creates doubt which leads a child to search out the truth. This means testing on the current situation and everything in the future. To make things easy for you, be explicit and consistent so that when you say something, the child knows that you mean it. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

About the Author

Bob lives in Florida with his wife and loves to write about parenting, personal development, spirituality, and life. He has a PhD in Social Psychology and loves building his Network Marketing business!