Educational Topics: Motivating Our Children

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Motivating our children

  • The ABCs of Changing Behavior
  • Antecedent - Parent's Instructions to clean
  • Behavior - Child picks up toys

Consequence - Verbal Praise

Rewards vs. Punishments

  • Reinforcement: Presenting or removing an event after a response that will increase the likelihood of that response
  • Punishment: Presenting or removing after a response that will decrease the likelihood of that response
  • Different Reinforcements and Punishments
  • Positive Reinforcement Increases Likelihood
  • Antecedent: Parent asks child to do homework
  • Behavior: Child completes homework
  • Consequence: Child gets to play on iPad

Negative Reinforcement Increases Likelihood

  • Antecedent: Child doesn’t want to eat vegetables
  • Behavior: Child screams and yells
  • Consequence: Child gets to eat something else

Positive Punishment Decreases Likelihood

  • Antecedent: Child is angry with brother
  • Behavior: Child fights with brother
  • Consequence: Child gets timeout

Negative Punishment Deceases Likelihood

  • Antecedent: Parent asks child to clean their room
  • Behavior: Child doesn’t clean room
  • Consequence: Child loses TV time

Positive Reinforcement

  • Food and Consumables (snacks and TV) Strength: Immediate; Limitation: Cannot give snacks and TV all the time
  • Social Reinforces (attention, praise, physical contact)Strength: Easily Provided; Limitation: Difficult to be consistent
  • Privileges and Activities (during free time) Strength: Highly reinforcing and easy to identify; Limitation: Not easily administered immediately
  • Token System (points, chips, stars) Strength: Highly reinforcing and applicable with more than one child; Limitation: Arranging and tracking what the tokens can be exchanged for
  • They Resist Change

    • In the beginning things are going to get worse.
    • We will have to engage in self-care
    • Understand that they will have real emotions
    • Listen to them and let them know you care
    • Reward them for good behavior. Trust in the process.


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  • Aetna
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