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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Changing Children's Behavior by Using Positive Reinforcement Methods

By Andrew Loh

The most common web definition for behavior:

  • "The way in which one acts or conducts oneself, esp. toward others"

  • "The way in which an animal or person acts in response to a particular situation or stimulus"

Of all the human psychological parameters, behavior is perhaps the most important issue that assumes a larger dimension especially in a child's life. The type of behavior a child possesses is very critical because it can influence his or her career in an adverse manner. The term “undesirable behavior” relates to a child whose conduct in public is either disruptive or aggressive and the outcome of such an undesirable behavior is ridicule by friends, peers, teachers and parents. Undesirable behavior among children is undesirable and unacceptable. Parents may need to work very hard to nix it in the bud itself. Parents often show their frustration and anger on their children's insistence to resort to bad behavior.

A child that misbehaves on a consistent basis could be a source of nightmare for parents. Parents keep thinking about all those methods and techniques that could help their children to acquire good behavior. A child can display many types of undesirable behavior. Some of them may be pronounced in display while the others may not to be readily noticeable but could manifest in a severe manner after sometime. Whatever the case, children who possess such behaviors may show a tendency to display socially unacceptable traits that could act as serious obstacles in their mental and physical growth.

Undesirable behavior among children may have dual tones; it could be a show of aggression or it could even be a display of passiveness. Each one of them could be segregated based on the right symptoms displayed by the child. Here are different kinds of undesirable behaviors in children:

Aggressive behavior

Anger is perhaps one of the most undesirable behaviors found among children. It is not only aggressive but also disruptive with pronounced negative social manifestations. Children who demonstrate an acute anger syndrome direct this negative behavior at the unimportant event that is not to his or her taste. The worst form of this behavior is the children's tendency to break up things or throw them at different corners of the room. Another negative aspect is the acute tendency to bully other children.

Yelling or shouting at others is yet another form of aggressive behavior. An inconsequential event or cause makes children yell or shout at others. Although yelling is a milder form aggressive behavior, it is still an unbearable behavioral form.

Defiant behavior

Defiant behavior is an oppositional form of aggressive behavior. However, this is not like an aggressive behavior where the children tend to display disruptive mannerism. When parents offer anything to their children they will simply oppose or throw away whatever is offered to them. Children simply refuse to listen to their parents and show an act of defiance. Such children are likely to break every rules and regulations that their parents set in their home.

Passive behavior

Passivity could be another form of undesirable behavior. Passiveness rooted at the children's heart is very difficult to eradicate. Silence is one of the pronounced variations of defiant behavior. Whatever their parents say or do, children remain passive with no expressions or opinions. In most of the cases, they look as if they have given up their ability to respond to their parents.

Parents will need to consider all instances of undesirable behavior with utmost seriousness and try to remove them from their children' lives. Shaping or altering undesirable behaviors mean giving children with sufficient cues or reinforcements that eventually direct them towards cultivating socially acceptable or desirable behaviors. As you shape or format your children's behavior, you can change the children's personality traits make them better in their mannerism and personality.

Shaping negative behavior is possible by using a series of positive reinforcement techniques. In behavioral therapy domain, experts recommend using positive reinforcement techniques. It can occur when a reward is provided for a specific acceptable or desired behavior. The so-called rewards are also known as reinforcers. In a span of time, positive rewards will lead to the gradual development of desired or acceptable social behaviors. Parents will need to be very cautious while using these rewards because what works for one may not work for others.

The next article will help you understand how one can use several positive reinforcement techniques to shape children's characters, mannerisms and behaviors. You will also learn why positive reinforcement techniques are better than using negative reinforcement techniques. In addition, you will also learn many examples of both positive and negative reinforcement techniques. Continue to read Changing Children's Behavior by Using Positive Reinforcement Methods - Tips and Suggestions!


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