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Negative and positive
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2 thoughts on “Reinforcers

  1. I think you have to find a mix of the two with children, but the vast majority should be positive.

    There’s another type of reinforcement that I try to mix generously in with positive and negative. I’m not sure if it has a nice name, but I guess you could call it logical reinforcement. This is when you carefully, logically, explain the consequences of an action from an early age and try to help them understand the why, not just the yes or no.

    It won’t work with every child, nor will it work all the time. But carefully explaining, on their level, what might happen if they run into the street can sometimes be more effective than either, “JUNIOR! GET BACK HERE THIS SECOND OR I’LL TAN YOUR HIDE!!!” or, “Now, junior….if you come out of middle of Kingston Pike I’ll give you a hug and a nice cookie!”. Let them know from the time they can walk that if they don’t remain aware of where they are, and stay out of that big flat strip of grey hard stuff with the yellow lines, a big rumbly things gonna come along and could hurt them badly. If they know this and are truly cognizant of the idea of Danger, their self-protection instincts will kick in sooner. And they’ll have learned and understood something. With the positive and negative reinforcements above, they don’t understand the Why, and kids love to resist the Why. Remove the mystery of the Why and they won’t go in the street in the first place.

    Now if they forget and decide to toss a ball around in the middle of Kingston Pike, “JUNIOR GET YOUR BUTT OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!!!” is perfectly acceptable, but hopefully he’ll know why he screwed up.

  2. I’ll grant you that one for sure!

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