Struggling with child discipline techniques? Learn these tried and tested tips.

Child Discipline is a key parenting skill, which parents need to learn to be effective in raising well rounded children. As in mastering any skill in life, it’s all about continuous learning and applying the knowledge learnt.

Please allow me the chance to ask you this question. How do you discipline your child? Do you spank, shout, or withdraw privileges?

In behavioural management studies there are three approaches that are most likely used by parents for child discipline These are Positive reinforcement, Negative reinforcement and Punishment.

Positive reinforcement entails giving a reward or praise which will increase the likelihood of the desired behaviour repeated. On the other hand with negative reinforcement a desired behaviour is brought out through elimination of an adverse event (eg a child learns to eat fruits and vegetables daily, because taking liquid multivitamin orally makes them sick.)

As for punishment, this is often confused with negative reinforcement, which involves increasing an unfavourable situation to decrease or stop negative behaviour.

Positive Reinforcement, is it the best way to instil good behaviour?

From research done child experts agree that positive reinforcement is the best way to bring out positive behaviour in children, whilst keeping negative behaviour in check.

For successful child discipline, positive reinforcement can develop a child intrinsic motivation. It will also provide children some understanding of expectations and behaviour. Try these key points to help you effectively wield positive reinforcement:

• Be consistent with you reinforcers. Make sure you immediately reinforce good behaviour. Timing is everything and consistency is the key. The shorter the delay between the behaviour and reinforcer, the greater the chance of strengthening the behaviour.

• Select and define the deed. Be clear on what is acceptable or not acceptable at or away from home. Be specific on which behaviour you want the child to repeat. Refrain from giving vague directives. Instead of “ no talking while eating” it should be “sit on the chair, no talking with food in your mouth.”

• Use your imagination and come up with different ways of reinforcers. Varying reinforcers keeps things fresh and prevents satiation in a child. Learn to use non-material reinforcers. Try to remember not all kids want material things as rewards. A warm hug, pats on the back and encouraging words have equal, if not more, importance to them.

Using parenting with positive thinking, is all about creating a positive mindset, allowing the skill of effective parenting and positive parent involvement to be used efficiently for child discipline.

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