Monday, February 11, 2008

Positive Reinforcement - Is it good or bad for the child?

Positive reinforcement is when a particular action is followed by a specific response and that response is more likely to recur in future.
My older son is constantly refusing to do any work related to school, being very new to the school atmosphere and knowing that his younger brother does not go to school, he refuses to listen to anything we tell him.The following june session he is going to go to Kindergarten, things are not going to get easy there for him nor me as a parent.

He needs to begin his writing skills and knowing the child that he is - he will do stuff in a new atmosphere only when he has done it before.

To begin his writing practice, i tried to make it fun by saying that the number's be is going to write will be happy only when he completes them well. With my help of course, he decided to make a start. After about a minute, he was " NO, NO MORE"

My reaction to this was " Ice Cream said he is waiting for you, he wants you to eat him"
There was a twinkle in his eyes. He loves ice creams and he does not get them often. He had to grab this opportunity and wanted it immediately.

At this point, I told him " Come on lets make all the numbers happy and finish writing them, the ice cream is waiting for you to finish your writing, else he will not get a ticket for you to eat him". For my luck, it worked.

He did complete his work happily and with lost of fun we sand the " WE DID IT" Song from Dora the Explorer and had the ice cream.

Now the next day, it was writing time again, he asked if the ice cream was waiting.
HMMMM, I though, Well, its over and gone, but he bought that and wrote with the same enthusiasm, but wanted some treat.

So I told him I would begin a piggy bank where you can start collecting money for every good thing you do and when you reach Rs. 50 you can buy yourself something.

Now the piggy bank is not yet bought, but well, it worked that night.

By and large rewards do not have a general harmful influence on motivation to perform a task. The self generated controversy surrounding the supposed harmful influence of rewards is rather unfortunate as some parents have been misled to avoid praising children because they think this might somehow be harmful.

Praise is a particularly powerful positive reinforcer that helps children learn.My older son, loves praises these days, when we say we did it during his writing time and dance around wiggling our hands, he loves that I am acknolegeding the great work of writing he did, which he resisted for such a long long time.

He used to resist, because I used to insist, with no rewards. All it did was make him retreat back to negative behavior.

I would love you to share your thoughts on this regard. We could have different ideas where positive reinforcement work.

How about down sides? Any quotes?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

NO's No and more No's.

After my 2nd son P was born, and until he was mobile which he is now, life was like a twister. Now, S will be 3 1/2 soon and P will be 2 yrs soon. They are exactly 18 months apart. They have the routines set, sleep on their own etc etc. The past 1 1/2 years I was into a "Scream full Parenting" Constantly trying to "NO" each child into not doing something. I was helpless, in the true sense. All alone, managing 2 children, with a husband who was busy doing his full time MBA.

Now these "NO"'s have begun to have an adverse effect on my children and also its become my habit to talk in a way which children are perplexed. OK ok....

The story can go on as to what all I have done and how much of a guilt trip I am being put into by my own children. I can see them sinking and shrinking when i am stern. It was then when I re-opened my books.

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.

This book was an eye opener. I was almost on a guilt trip, when my I discussed this with my friend, about me feeling guilty about how I was behaving with my children. She said STOP FEELING GUILTY. She was a child development psychologist. She was right, I instead started to retreat back and let go. I stopped sayings NO's and instead started to talk more positively.

Like for example: Here is a conversation what goes on at home with my sons and me

Older Son - S : (Screaming at the top of his voice and pushing P) " P, dont touch my car. This is mine"

P: Crying...

Mother: (What I said before reading the book -Screaming) " S stop screaming at him and hitting him, Share your toys"

Mother:(What I said after reading the book) : "S, lower your voice and give him the other car to play with"

I cant tell how much changes this particular book has brought to me and S. This child was so stubborn that he had stopped listening to me. Well, he still will not if I push him to do something, but at least he has started responding to me sanely.

This exercise has just begun. I am still working on a lot of things, anger and frustration are still there in me and my children. Everyday is challenge, to keep reminding myself sane and consciously try to handle my children emotionally and intelligently.

Long Break

I am opening up this blog on parenting after a long break. My views, dilemmas etc etc.I was just reformatting the look and the theme,and had just begin to write, now i need to go, my children are up from their afternoon nap. Before they pounce on me and delete anything, let me go.
Parents and bloggers, your support is going to help me move on with more parenting ideas.
Until the next post.....