Parenting: Positive reinforcement

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Parenting: Positive reinforcement

When your child resists doing something you often ask him or her to do, try a little positive reinforcement.

For example, my 9-year-old used to avoid tying his sneaker or shoes laces, opting instead to slip them on as if they were loafers.

When I finally sat him down and insisted he untie his laces and put his sneakers on the right way, that's when I discovered the issue. It would take him a long time to lace his shoes, and he just didn't have the patience to become better at it.

Well that's where a little positive reinforcement came in handy.

By simply telling Nicholas "great job!" after he finally laced his sneakers, it has helped turn the tide on a daily activity he used to avoid.

Some things we as parents take for granted (like shoe tying) is often a struggle for our youngsters. And simply imposing our will is not enough.

Experts define positive reinforcement as a simple reality-based technique that can turn your child's behavior around pretty quickly. Why? Because it reinforces what a youngster is doing right rather than concentrating on what they're doing wrong.

Your child wants your approval very badly, even though they may not always act like it. And so noticing and commenting on a specific behavior, experts say, will provide logical rewards. The child will also feel noticed, validated and approved of, and eventually he or she will recognize the value of his or her own positive actions.

While I knew all of this, I did realize that perhaps I wasn't using enough positive reinforcement when raising my son.

What I've learned is that it works best when it isn't a once-in-a-while thing. The more it happens, the more effective it is. And then it can become as simple as - tying your shoe laces.

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