Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Not a Bribe

Often times when I talk to parents about managing child behaviors, I will talk about implementing a rewards system.  Quickly, I’ll hear “I don’t want to bribe my child or I don’t want my child to learn that he gets things simply by doing what he’s supposed to”. 

They usually regret saying that soon after as they listen to me hop on my soapbox and proclaim:

Children learn with repetition and cues.
Earning something for
doing good cues the child to 
store that behavior in his/her memory
so that it can be repeated !!!!

Have you ever laughed at the line in the Jennifer Aniston movie “I want you to want to do the dishes?”

It is unrealistic to expect a child to want to do something unpleasant.  He or she doesn’t have the sophisticated processing skills necessary to be altruistic (Let’s face it.  We adults are known to struggle with that too!).

Kids have to know what’s in it for them in order to be committed to learning something they don’t want to. Rewards increase the likelihood that kids will choose something good again. 

After all, if we rewarded our partners
for doing the dishes, 
maybe they’d get done
without the argument, too!

Rewards and reward systems focus on the positive.  I believe strongly, too, in holding accountability and punishment.  Negative behaviors are going to get direct attention and an immediate response. It is only fair that positive ones do to.

Rewards are only one step and one tool for teaching positive behavior.  There are others and they change as the child increases his/her skill building and as they age. 

Despite your worst fear, I guarantee you that your seventeen year old will not still be expecting a reward if he brushes his teeth without you having to ask or doublecheck!

Work deserves reward.  We’re asking a lot of our kids.  They have to learn hygiene, manners, social skills, organization tasks, and school subjects all at the same time!!

Why not reward them
for doing a good job at it?
It’s only fair.

Still not convinced?  Want to talk about it more or which rewards system can help your family? Check out my website for more information.

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