When most adults were growing up, the phrase “Spare the rod, spoil the child” was often bantered around. Parents and guardians used punishment as the main means of managing their children’s behavior. However, today there should be a new mantra such as “Spare the rod, use behavior mod”. There has been a change in tactics over the years, because behavioral psychologists have found that punishment is the most inefficient and least effective means of managing behavior. When parents think about all the behaviors they have punished over the years, and then see how many of those behaviors are still disrupting their homes, they are often surprised. Not only does punishment not help in curtailing unacceptable behaviors, it often yields behaviors that are worse than the offense the child is punished for. Children who are punished often become liars in an attempt to either prevent the punishment or postpone it. Punishment also can cause anger and behavioral acting out on the part of the child. Also people who receive punishment become overly defensive and may not learn to take responsibility for their actions.
Over the years, many researchers and clinicians have identified better methods of modifying behavior. The best way to get people to cooperate is to use positive reinforcement following desired behavior. This is not bribery it is compensation for a job done well. Remember, a bribe is something you give someone to do something inappropriate. A reward is not a bribe. After all, how many adults would continue to show up at work if they were not paid?
Want to have a happier home and more cooperative children, then “Spare the Rod and Use Behavior Mod”. If you want to know how, call us, we can help.