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The most common mistakes made with punishments

The most common mistakes made with punishments


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Psychology has shown us that, in few cases, punishment is effective. The goal in education is to consolidate positive behaviors in children and eliminate negative behaviors, and that is much better achieved through reinforcement and extinction.

We consider any positive consequence to be 'reinforcement', and be careful, let's not make a mistake with material rewards, the best reinforcement for children can be very cheap, is the attention of their parents.

Many parents abuse punishment, confusing punishment with good manners, and with this they make the situation worse and worse. Among the most common errors we find are:

Punishing the child for long periods of time. The child will think that we do not give him the opportunity to behave well and since he is already punished, why strive for the correct behavior?

Punish him with everything he likes. In this way, when he behaves well, with what will we reinforce him?

Accumulate punishment over several days. Every day you have to give him the option to achieve the goal, and encourage him to do so.

Disproportionate punishments.

In few cases, the punishment is effective, and for it to be, it has to be as contingent as possible to the behavior we want to punish, that is, as close as possible, and for a short period of time.

It is useless to punish a child without watching television on the weekend if he had a fight with his brother on Thursday, because when the moment of punishment comes, first, he will not remember the reason, and second, we break the possibility to reward behaviors in that interval from Thursday to Saturday.

It's about learning to distinguish what is well done from what is not correct with different behaviors. Thus, when children are performing the behaviors that we want to establish, we must be with them, reinforce their behavior and reward the child while behaving well.

On the other hand, it is advisable not to pay more attention to it when it is performing the disruptive behaviors that we want to disappear, the latter is what is called 'extinction'.

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