Sunday, September 17, 2017

Using Behaviorism With Discipline

Diane Papalia who has a bachelors in psychology, child development, and a PH.D in family relations, Sally Olds who has a bachelors in psychology and Ruth Feldman who has a bachelors in gifted children defined behaviorism as a learning theory that emphasizes the predictable role of the environment in causing observable behavior.

Behaviorism can be divided into two categories. These categories can help parents when it comes to disciplining their children. The first one is rewards which are known as positive and negative reinforcement and second punishment. In this post we'll discuss positive and negative reinforcement and next week we'll discuss punishment.

Rewards or positive reinforcement is the reaction of a child's behavior that increases the probability of it reoccurring. Positive reinforcement can be divided into primary reinforces or secondary reinforces. Primary reinforces satisfy a build in need or desire such as food, water, air etc and are essential to a person's well-being. These should never be taken away when a child has inappropriate or bad behavior because these are basic needs. Primary reinforcers such as physical affection, a smile, and cuddling all satisfy a built in need or desire. These reinforcers can be used when a parent has lost their temper with a child or a child has done something they know has upset the parent and the parent knows they fell bad such as a child broke a dish.

Secondary reinforcers are neutral incentives that through repeated identification with another reinforcer have become a reinforcer. For example, when a child gets good grades in school the repeated identification of a good grade becomes a reinforcer and is a neutral incentive because there is no reward for getting good grades. A neutral incentive is an incentive a person doesn't respond to in any noticeable way such as the ringing bell in a classroom to start class causes no response from children. Examples of secondary reinforcers are praise, tokens, money and the feeling of success. These kinds of reinforcers can be used to potty train a child, teach siblings to be kind to one another etc. Parents should be careful with these kinds of reinforcers so that children don't come to expect a reward for behaving appropriately.

Positive reinforcers are rewards that increase a person's behavior such as a smile or the feeling of satisfaction when a person accomplishes a hard task. Positive reinforcers are classifed in two categories: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic reinforcers are rewards provided by the outside environment and are material reinforcers such as food, toys etc. Where this type of reinforcer is effective in changing behavior it can be counterproductive as it focuses the child's learning on achieving the reward not the involvement and methods required to learn whatever lesson the child may need to learn. Intrinsic reinforcements are internal good feelings that come from within. For example, if a child does a chore for a sibling and the parent notices and says, "thank you," this will cause a child to feel good inside. This type of reinforcer goes a long way when dealing with children because it helps children feel appreciated and builds their self-esteem.

Social reinforcers are gestures or signs such as smile and attention that a person gives another person. A parent's attention and approval are powerful and effective reinforcers. Activity reinforcers are opportunities to engage in a favorite activity after completing a less favorable one. Positive feedback works when it communicates to the child that they're doing well or making progress and is paticularly effective when it gives children guidance about what they've learned and how to improve behavior. For example, a parent can say, " I appreciate that you asked for a snack. Next time can use the word please too?" Token economies are programs where children who have behaved appropriately receive a token that can be traded for objects or privileges of a child's choice. For example, if a parent is using a chore chart and a child gets a star every day for doing the chores they were responsible for, the child can go to the dollar store and pick something out.

Negative reinforcement increases a response through the removal of a stimulus-usually an unpleasant one. Negative reinforcement occurs when something negative is taken away to improve a behavior. For example, when a parent says a child can't eat until the child puts their toys away. Negative reinforcement occurs when an individual learns to perform a specific behavior in order to cause something unpleasant to stop.

All of these reinforcers can be used to help teach children correct behavior and to discipline when children are acting inappropriately. Which one is used will depend on the child and the situation that is causing the child to misbehave and the parent to teach appropriate behavior. Remember the best way to teach children to behave appropriately and will cause reasons to discipline children be less to be a good example and behave the ways you want your children to behave.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Goals of Discipline

The  key force in providing discipline for children is to approach the conflicts between what a child wants and desires to do and the way society expects children to behave.  Discipline can be defined as attempts by adults to guide children into learning and internalizing socially appropriate rules and behaviors.
The desire in using discipline is to help children progress from impulsive, immature behavior to self-control. The goal of discipline is to empower children to develop self-regulation in order to be in control and direct their own behavior in a pro-social manner. Another goal of discipline is to help children internalize important rules and society expectations. For example, not throwing tantrums in public or not causing bodily harm to others.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Managing a Home

I'm back! All moved in but boxes are still everywhere! Getting organized will be a slow process of emptying boxes for a while.

Most people when they think of management they think of a business and the people who run the business. However, management is part of a home as well. Parents are the 'managers' of a home. They are the ones who 'run' the home.

Management can be considered an umbrella for creating an environment that encourages positive interactions with children and parents. An effective parent has an overall view of the environment (the home). A parent has a view of the physical, temperature of the emotional, and  knows how the home works to provide cognitive skills. The parents take measures of the home to guarantee it supports every child.

Management of a home includes applying best practices to make sure children understand what behavior is expected of them. Whether children are infants, toddlers, preschoolers, or school aged, the physical social and emotional environment of the home is a major influence on behavior. Effective parents are alert to making all conditions of the home positive and supportive of their children's development. If the physical layout is cluttered, parents can expect children to respond with chaos. If parents interact with their children socially in a disrespectful or angry way parents can expect children will become disrespectful and angry toward them. If parents respond to misbehavior with high tempers and irritation, future interactions will suffer and children will respond in a similar way. Interactions between parent and child will suffer because children will eventually shut down around the parent who always shows these behaviors toward them and it may cause the parent and child to not have a healthy relationship or not have a relationship at all.

Children's behavior is challenging and it takes a lot of effort to teach children how to behave appropriately. However, if parents see their children as good investments and put effort into teaching their children how to behave appropriately it will be worth it. Particularly when the enter the world and practice what they've been taught and show the world they know what appropriate behavior is and how to do it.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Short Break

I'm in the process of packing so I can move at the end of the month. It will be a really busy month and I won't have time to post until after the move. See you in mid August. Until then be patient with your children, have fun, do lots of fun activities and love your children.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Don't Punish Your Children When You Are Under Stress

Punishing children when stress levels are high makes learning more difficult and behavior negative. This can cause effects into adulthood. For example, when a parent has had a hard day at work or the children have been more difficult than usual that day, if a parent punishes a child while feeling that stress, it can make it harder for a child to do homework or a parent to teach them what they may done wrong because the situation is full of emotion not logic.

It will cause negative behavior because the child will match the parents out of control behavior or the parent will match the child's out of control behavior and then the parent and child are feeding off of one another's emotions escalating the situation, instead of the parent bringing it under control.

Children need parents to be in control and is scares them when they're not. A child needs the parent to help them through whatever is going on and what they are feeling, not match their out of control behavior. It can continue into adulthood because as children they've learned to match the other person's level of emotion and become out of control instead of gaining control and handling the situation with logic not emotion.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

2 Traits of 5 Year Olds

Two traits appear in Kindergarten. The first one is the concept of fairness. Parents and teachers hear a lot of It's not fair at this age. To a kindergarten age child, fair means everything is equal and the dividing of any material is the same for everyone.

The second trait is tattling. During kindergarten children develop an understanding of the purpose, creation, and importance of rules. They become focused on being sure to follow the rules and focused on making sure other people follow the rules. From the viewpoint of a five year old, it becomes equally important to tell a parent or teacher of any error. Parents and teachers can head off this behavior by helping children learn to deal with situations on their own in socially acceptable ways.

For example, if a child isn't sharing, instead of the child telling the parent, the parent can teach the child to deal with the situation by telling the child to tell the child who isn't sharing that it's not nice not to share and it makes them sad when they don't. The child can tell the sibling or friend who isn't sharing it makes them mad when they don't share and to ask the child nicely, "Can I have a crayon please?" or whatever isn't being shared. This way the child learns how to take care of the situation themselves and the parent doesn't have to take care of every little situation that arises all day long.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Positive Approaches With Preschool Age Children

William Damon, a researcher who followed in Piaget's steps, noticed that preschool age children regularly justify their social choices based on what they want. A preschool aged child's understanding of leadership is based on physical attributes- meaning bigger people such as parents or older children- should be the ones in charge simply because of their size. Where preschool aged children are focused on physical attributes they have little understanding of psychological motives, emotions and attitudes as causes of behavior whether it be theirs or someone else's.

Parents and other adults may assume preschool children understand social and behavioral issues in the same way adults do because of how verbal they are, but this isn't true. Redirecting behavior when it's in appropriate rather than focusing on what's occurred that may be wrong, is as effective in this age range as it is at the toddler age. If a parent states expectations clearly and simply a preschool age child will more often than not follow the parent's request. It's important for parents to make sure their expectations are reasonable. For example, if a parent asks a four year old to go put their clean laundry away, the child will do it because the instruction to go put you clean clothes away is clear, simple and the expectation is reasonable. It's reasonable because the child is old enough to understand what go put your clothes away  means, because hopefully a parent around the age of two or three has already taught the child how to put their clean clothes away. If the instruction is make your own lunch, that's an unreasonable request for a parent to give a four year old because a four year old doesn't know what to do or how to do it and doesn't have the dexterity skills yet to make their own lunch. This is why it's important to keep expectations age appropriate.