Trans4mind Home Page
~ A Journey of Self-Discovery ~

Long Term Benefits of Positive Reinforcement

By J. Richard Kirkham

Over the years of tutoring students with behavior challenges, I've noticed a pattern of negative reinforcement by both parents and teachers in an attempt to diminish or stop such behaviors. Let's review some basic behavioral reactions from all human beings. This includes both adults and children since these are basic behaviors.

  • Children and adults avoid negative stimuli. This includes but is not inclusive to spankings, getting yelled at by the boss, or even disapproving looks.

  • Children and adults attempt to receive positive stimuli. This includes but is not inclusive to hugs, getting complemented by the boss, or even approving looks.

  • In the absence of any stimuli, and when feeling a need for attention, children and adults will attempt to create situations whereby responses by authority figures or peers is provoked. In most cases I've witnessed, in both children and adults, the activity to promote this stimuli tends to be in the form of a negative behavior issue. Again, this applies to both children and adults from throwing paper airplanes to antics at the water cooler at the office.

Why are these behaviors primarily negative? Let's consider the way we were raised. I've actually had successful, intelligent parents tell me and I quote one person: "My wife and I don't believe in rewarding expected behavior."

What do you believe my former student will do when he/she feels a need for attention? Do well on a test? No, that's expected. As is behaving in class, in public and basically acting in an appropriate manner in all situations.

I've seen the same attitude in over 75% of the parents who hired me to consult with them over email or tutor their child and it's not the parents fault. Most parents don't have a background in teaching, counseling or psychology They raise their children, in most cases, the way they were raised. Getting the occasional tip from another parent or television. If the technique the parent uses even temporarily hinders a behavior. They feel successful.

For the most part, if the child has no extreme behaviors, the parents techniques raise a socially acceptable child with average goals in life, but at what loss of potential?

Let's look inside the mind of a child through adulthood. Let's presume he/she has average self-trained parents who understand the benefits of positive reinforcement, but are, for the most part unsure how to execute it and therefore are sporadic at best. Here's a scenario:

  • John gets an A on his test. Parents praise him.
  • The next class John tries hard though he gets a D. Parents admonish him.
  • John gets another D in the same class. Parents ground him.
  • John gets yet another D parents take away his hand held gamer.
  • John stops trying in the class.
  • John resorts to acting out for attention in that class.
  • As his peers grow accustom to his behaviors John escalates them in order to receive the same amount of attention.
  • The parents finally have a meeting with the teacher of that class to find out why John gets into trouble in that class.

This can escalate further but generally doesn't. Do you now understand, however, why we act out in a negative manner in order to get attention? We keep the traits in us which are reinforced, whether this reinforcement consists of negative or positive stimuli.

Let's now examine some parents who, through classes, study or perhaps even buying my book understand the importance of consistent positive reinforcement.

  • John gets a D on his test.
  • A compliment is followed by constructive questions.
  • John changes his study habits.
  • John still gets a D.
  • The parents hit a heavy bag, power-walk and release their stress in constructive ways.
  • A compliment is followed by constructive questions.
  • The parents have a meeting with John's teacher for the class.
  • The teacher works with John.
  • John probably does better on the next test.

Regardless of the results, John still has his support group and is not alone. Which means I probably won't get the "you're my last hope" call. Let's carry both these scenarios into adulthood...

Primarily Negative Stimuli
John graduated high school with Bs and Cs. He's working at a grocery store. He bags groceries and is a hard worker. He does what he's told at work because he doesn't want to get into trouble. He shows up to work regularly and has had a few raises.

Scenario with Primarily Positive Reinforcement
John graduated high school with As and Bs. He started out bagging groceries. John knew he could do better than that. He worked hard utilizing the same positive reinforcement techniques his parents had utilized with him to improve his self-confidence. The customers, coworkers, and management appreciated his positive attitude and hard work. John asked questions and was not afraid to try or suggest new ways of performing daily tasks at work. He's now the manager of the grocery store with a very busy schedule as he is taking college courses in the evening.

Conclusion
Though John's character is fictional, the results are not. Self-confidence and a lack of fear to attempt to achieve tasks without negative reprisals due to temporary lack of achievement is a must for the building blocks for both leadership and innovation. Without consistent positive reinforcement the child's chances of realizing this self-confidence to perserveer and to develop and initiate new ideas and methodology is greatly restricted.

Let me conclude with a quote from my book: "Do you want your child to want to do the right thing or be afraid to do the wrong thing?

J. Richard Kirkham is a dual certified teacher and martial arts instructor. He has expertise in alternative teaching methods and positive reinforcement methodology. He's written several books in the printable electronic format and has made downloadable videos and DVDs.

Out of the box
More personal development articles at the Counterpoint Article Library

Good info on many topics:

Want to renew your life?

Our online, interactive video workshops present the most effective methods of holistic personal development...
Start off with a Free Life Assessment and a Free Consultation...
 

Have a question about Trans4mind Training?

Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Our Fees?
Email Peter Shepherd

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...
 

View all the Hypnosis Downloads here

Get a free Hypnosis Download at Facebook

Hypnosis is the key to unlocking your creativity, focusing your energy and understanding yourself

Hypnosis has a long history of helping human beings be the very best they can be. It can be used to control anything controlled by the unconscious mind - pain, blood pressure, fear, confidence levels, mood, sex drive... the list goes on:

  1. You'll become highly productive without getting stressed
  2. Tap into your creative energies instantly
  3. Really understand yourself and others
  4. You'll learn how to stay calm in high pressure or uncomfortable situations
  5. Develop laser-like levels of focus and concentration

Lean more... Uncommon Hypnosis Course

Welcome to the New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program
is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
We think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
And here's a fantastic resource for self-education...

The World of Inspiration eLibrary

World of Inspiration
A treasure trove of personal development wisdom

Step inside. Just like a real library, there are thousands of quality eBooks presented on three "floors" and in different "rooms." To purchase your $15 Lifetime Membership to the World of Inspiration eLibrary, click the following button:

Payment is made through our secure transaction agent, PayPal.
The transaction is in the language and currency of your choice.
"I want to just say 'WOW!' This collection is probably the best money I ever spent! I've already received many times over in personal enrichment after just 9 days. I've had a past metaphysical background, but even newcomers to this material will really benefit. Thanks again." ~ J.S. (Pennsylvania, USA)
"The collection is everything which you promised. And more! A superb contribution to the good of the world. Many thanks indeed." ~ R.P. (Georgia, USA)
"Just a short note of thanks for the library. I've only had membership for several days now but I already feel this is perhaps the most interesting compilation I have yet seen. Worth far more than the price of admission. The browser linked structure works well and makes it easy to manage such a large storehouse of information. It is rarely that I find something I like as much as this or that I feel strongly enough to write a note like this." ~ P.W. (Minnesota, USA)
Copyright © 1997-2017 Trans4mind Ltd