Praise and Punishment: The Effects on Children

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Praise and Punishment: The Effects on Children -Jessica Broome We cannot teach children how to be successful adults by simply finding ways to make them obedient. When children do what they are told simply because they will either be rewarded or punished, they are being “obedient”. We want children to practice good behavior even when we are not there to offer a reward or dole out a punishment. As suggested by “insufficient punishment”, children will only change their behavior temporarily when the punishment is severe. This is also true of rewards. They are more concerned with the external justifications of their behavior as it relates to a consequence, not an internal justification for change. When we justify behavior by intrinsic motivation there is a lasting effect. While we want children to follow rules, we really want to teach them how to respond appropriately to different situations in life. What happens when the motivations of punishment and/or reward are removed? We take away the extrinsic motivation they have become accustomed to and find we have given them no reason to look internally for justificationof appropriate behavior. One expert suggests a “Thinking Chair” in lieu of a “Time-Out Chair”. When a child is put in time-out, the “down-time” is used at their discretion in regard to thinking and is often unprodictive. The Thinking Chair gives constructive direction for a child’s mind, producing a ripple of empathy in consideration of the circumstance. This in turn becomes practice and helps to lay a foundation for behaving appropriately based on lasting internal reasons. In order for a child to learn to make better decisions about behavior, he certainly must be aware that there are consequences . He will like some of the consequences, but some consequences will make him uncomfortable, causing dissonance. He needs to experience these things,

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