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Rewards often serve a useful purpose; they are the prime modes of encouraging good behavior in children. Getting children to behave in acceptable ways may oft seem to be an uphill task for parents. However, instead of resorting to threats which could lead to conflicts, it would be worthwhile for parents to reward and encourage good behavior in children in as many different ways as possible.
- What strategy should parents adopt to elicit and encourage good behavior?
The best strategy would be to use rewards with discretion. Indeed, you could reward your child if and when the occasion demands, but do not make 'rewards' a general practice simply to get your child to behave well. As far as possible avoid using materialistic rewards as the sole method of eliciting good behavior from children.
- What other methods can be adopted by parents?
Try to adopt a middle ground, modify your reactions and focus on the positives. It would be prudent to consistenly reassure children that you have their best interests at heart. Encourage them to conform to the rules solely with expectations of rewards.
- Which rewards tend to work best?
Small appropriate rewards like stickers, candy and simple, inexpensive toys, can reinforce positive behavior and work best with younger children. For older children, watching their favorite television show, inviting their friends over for a play date or picnic in the park, could serve as special rewards for good behavior.
- What part does appreciation play as rewards for good behavior?
Appreciation of good behavior or a job well done is a reward in itself. First make sure your children understand the true value of appreciation; they can do so by acknowledging children when they do something good. Remaks like, "Great job!" or "How wonderful that you completed your home-work so quickly!" can go along way in boosting children's ego while simultaneously reinforcing good behavior.
- Are there any other ways to reward children?
Every parent can create their own set of rewards. These may vary in accordance to their children’s age, interests and preferences. Your approbation of good behavior is of vital importance. You can motivate children to be mommy's helper or try something like, "I would so much appreciate your help in cleaning so that we could all enjoy the extra free time together." Follow-up on your comment by enjoying family togetherness either by an evening out or spending quality time at home.
- Do all rewards for good behavior work equally well with children?
No, not all rewards for good behavior may work effectively for all children. Although in the broad sense, rewards may have a positive impact on children's behavior, it would be only fair to point out that the habitual use of rewards for doing things which your child should be doing in the first place, may not always have the desired results. Indiscriminate use of rewards could even become a deterrent to children's complete development.
A strong, loving leadership from parents which exemplifies good behavior, could perhaps be the best reward and encouragement your children can have. Make sure to let your children know that you are attentive of their efforts. Just a warm hug, an affectionate smile or an enthusiastic pat- on- the- back from a caring parent, can be the greatest reward which children can cherish in the years to come.
Source: Raising a self-disciplined Child by Robert Brooks, Ph.D. & Sam Goldstein, Ph. D.