The Power of Positive Reinforcement

It is crucial to give positive reinforcement to your children and speak to them in an encouraging and loving way. Children internalize everything you say to them so speaking to them in a positive way will help them think positively about themselves and it also teaches them to use positive reinforcement with others they come in contact with. Of course, parents are not perfect (we’re all human, right?) but if you make a conscious effort to think and speak positively about and to your children, you will indeed see positive changes in them. When your child is behaving badly, using discipline or taking something away seems like the appropriate response to his or her behavior. Surprisingly, reacting negatively to a negative behavior can actually make the problem worse. Many children misbehave because they want attention even if it’s negative attention. Studies have found that positive reinforcement works wonderfully as “preventative medicine” against misbehaving. If you tell your child that they are good, make wise decisions, are well-behaved, etc. he or she will think twice before misbehaving.

Never use the phrases, “Leave me alone,” “Bad boy (or girl),” or “Why don’t you ever listen?” These three examples, out of hundreds of negatively-used phrases, hinder a child’s self-esteem and make them believe you are too busy for your child and that he or she is always bad and never listens well. Boost your child’s self-esteem by using encouraging words and phrases and as we teach our children this we must remember ourselves to “think before we speak.”

If your child knows they are going to be positively encouraged for making good behavioral choices, he or she will more than likely continue to want to be good over misbehaving. When children misbehave, more often than not, they simply want attention. If your child knows you see them being good and behaving well, they will react better to positive attention than negative attention. As you want your child to have good manners, you must lead by example. Children react best when their parents practice what they preach.

In addition to using encouraging words, children thrive on kindly affection like hugs. Also never be too busy to not take time to spend quality time with your child. Children need time with their parents to build strong relationships and memories. Often times, misbehaved children simply crave time and attention from their parents so lessen the chances of bad behavior by loving your children well. Have them turn off technology (yourself as well!) and take them to the park, for a walk, for an ice cream cone, read a book together, play games together, the fun ideas of spending time together are endless! If your family is on a budget, that’s okay. Your child just wants to spend time with you- Remember quality is what matters most so make it memorable. Simply be present…and positive!