Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rewards for right behavior


I have said it to kids a hundred times. Likely you have to.

“Do this and you will get this.”
“You did this, so, here, have this.”

I am training my child to act like a rat in a maze. Want a little pellet of food? Jump through this hoop. What is this really saying though? Are we not teaching our children that we do what is right because it brings a reward? What about if there is no obvious reward? Are we not also training our children that no reward means we don’t have to act rightly? Are too many questions in one paragraph hard to follow?

We need to take this back. We need to train our children to do what is right. Period. Maybe we sometimes use rewards. But we have to teach them why it’s right. Maybe we have to learn why ourselves first.

13 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ron .. we need to become accountable ourselves, take responsibility for our lives, be polite, treat others as you'd have them do unto you - even if they don't .. we need to become leaders and set examples ... and I hope those things will come over to our kids.

Too often doors get slammed in my face - it's lovely when someone holds one open for me ..

Being kinder, quieter, more aware and responding with empathy .. doesn't take much .. but our lives will be a lot easier ..

Cheers Hilary

Ron Easton for Dads UnLimited said...

Empathy...what a beautiful word, Hilary.

Dennis and Valerie said...

So, do we say, "do this because I told you to?" or do we say, "if you love me, you will do what I tell you" or what do you think?

Ron Easton for Dads UnLimited said...

I think that we should expect them and train, especially train them, to mature toward do it because you love me and then just because it is right. We likely have to begin with do it because I said so, though. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ron .. thought you might be interested in this - it's from a review for a book called "French Children Don't Throw Food" by Pamela Druckerman publ Doubleday ...

She's a NYer with a British husband, set about raising her 3 small kids in Paris - she found her family at odds with the French way of doing it .. I was going to type it all up .. but here is A link one of them -http://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/family/the-sense-in-pamela-druckermans-book-french-children-dont-throw-food

Enjoy the style .. makes sense to me .. cheers Hilary

Join Us For Breakfast said...

Ya, hum, I'm actually visiting your blog today because you advertised that you were going to give something away. Do you mean a prize or a bribe or a reward? Was that just a bribe to stop by or is there a real prize. I like prizes. Did I win? I don't see any mention of a prize on your blog just this post on rewarding right behaviour. Hum? I do love you of course but I like rewards too ;)

Love your sis!

Ron Easton for Dads UnLimited said...

Giveaway starts tomorrow! :)

J. Burroughs said...

Ron, You emphasize training instead of reward. I wonder, what method of training are you employing? If not rewards, then punishment? Or is the issue here over clarifying the terms reward and reinforcement? A reinforcement is not always a something, like toy or candy.

Hilary, I completely agree with leading by example. Staying positive (avoid "no, no, no!") and setting up for success are so important for raising kids. (And, um, training dogs.)

To everyone: I highly recommend reading Karen Pryor's book, Don't Shoot the Dog! It will teach you a lot about the power of positive reinforcement. I think the world would be a better place if people used some of the principles in this book with other people in their lives, not just the dog.

Ron Easton for Dads UnLimited said...

Thanks for the comment. I like your phrase, "setting up for success". I guess I wasn't clear enough was I, I will have to clarify in another post later, but what I'm talking about is expecting a child to do what is right, and if they don't have them repeat what was done incorrectly. Rather than saying, "Do it right, and you get a prize," raise the expectation to, "do the right thing because it is the right thing."
As I said in a previous comment, this is not for a two year old, we have to correct, reward, discipline, praise, all along the way.
I worry the pendulum toward expecting our children will not behave unless we dangle ever-larger carrots has contributed to the entitled generation we see springing up before us.

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