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Parenting Styles: The Power of Positive Reinforcement

Ever remember being scolded by your dad when you acted negligently? Or when your mom went berserk when you got caught sneaking out with your current fling? Unfortunately, these are the memories that vividly play in the minds of young adults. These replaced the praises that they should have received when they aced their exams, the ‘job well done’ when their projects get chosen for recognition, or even the ‘congratulations’ that should be given when one graduates. It is true that parenting styles differ from one family to another, but more often than not, they leave the same indelible mark, a recollection that lingers all through their lives—punishment.

How to react to difficult events?

It is true that most parents react instantaneously, sometimes violently, when a son gets tangled in a fight or when a daughter acts inappropriately with a guy. When these kinds of acts arise, punishment tends to rule the place. This punishment is a way to instill good behavior, yes it does.

However, most parents forget to commend their children for their achievements or for good behavior. When a child misbehaves, they get punished almost immediately. But if they do good, they receive nothing, not even a pat on the back. This is one of the parenting styles that wounds or destroys a child’s self-worth.

Will Positive reinforcement help?

Positive reinforcement will help your child live a life with their self-confidence intact. One may assume that this is too much work, being aware of their children’s actions and whatnot, but this is the essence of being a parent---to guide one’s child every step of the way which includes communicating with them, being open and sharing sentiments. Sincerity is also part positive reinforcement. When giving compliments, let it not be a passing gesture like saying ‘I’m home’ then going straight to your room. Try to level with your child, this does not mean talking down to them, particularly if you have teenagers. Talk to them like young adults. Power struggle need not happen. Clarify what is expected from them and lay down the rules. Quality interaction and good communication covers a considerable chunk in the pie chart that is parenting and the covers a considerable number of chapters in books relating to the various parenting styles. Remember, reinforcements build confidence and such act could dissuade destructive behaviors.

  

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