Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How To Get Children To Behave Without Hitting Them

There's plenty of evidence that spanking, paddling or hitting children doesn't improve their behavior in the long run and actually makes it worse. But the science never trumps emotion, according to Alan Kazdin, head of the Yale Parenting Center and author of The Everyday Parenting Toolkit ... When you're drowning, you can't teach someone how to swim, Kazdin says. "We don't reason with them, we don't moralize with them, we don't tell them about the science. That kind of talking doesn't influence behavior." Instead, Kazdin has parents practice what they'll say to a child, with words carefully chosen to get a specific response. The goal is to teach children to respond differently, without the problem behavior. What happens before a child misbehaves is critical, Kazdin says. Knowing that gives parents the opportunity to head off bad behavior before it happens ... Parents typically think of consequences as punishment, but decades of research in behavioral psychology has shown that promptly praising a child for good behavior is much more effective in improving behavior than punishment, Kazdin says. Punishment should be brief, simple and used sparingly. more

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