3 ways to use behaviour modification when kid misbehaves

July 23, 2019
  • What is behaviour modification?
    1 / 5 What is behaviour modification?

    Behaviour modification, based on the work of well-known American psychologist B F Skinner, is a discipline tactic that rewards good behaviour and discourages undesirable actions with negative consequences, like ignoring your kid.

    The idea is that behaviour that is reinforced with pleasant rewards is more likely to be repeated. Here are 3 situations where you can use behaviour modification.

    Related: 3 ways to use positive discipline when kid misbehaves

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  • My two-year-old refuses to share her toy
    2 / 5 My two-year-old refuses to share her toy

    Show your toddler the benefits of sharing, Donus Loh, a parenting coach and consultant psychologist at W3ave, says.

    For example, emphasise “it’s more fun to play with your friend” or “when you share your toy, your friend could also share his toy with you”.

    You could do this by having your child observe others sharing or yourself as a role model.

    (Also read: 10 tips to teach your child to share)

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  • Every naptime is a battle
    3 / 5 Every naptime is a battle

    Pair naptime with a reward. You could suggest going to the park or playing after waking up or say, “taking a nap makes you stronger”, Donus says.

    (Also read: 7 things to do when your young child won’t take a nap)

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  • My kid bites or hits whenever she doesn’t get her way
    4 / 5 My kid bites or hits whenever she doesn’t get her way

    Like positive discipline, you should find out why your little one is behaving this way for this strategy to work: Is she doing this to gain attention? Does she think it’s fun or is she expressing anger?

    If it is to gain attention, the adult being hit or bitten should show displeasure and ignore the child, Donus says. Follow up by saying “if you want to tell me something, then you need to use words”.

    If she’s doing it for fun, say “if you want me to play with you, then you should do things that make me happy. Biting makes me upset”, Donus suggests.

    (Also read: How to help your child control her emotions)

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  • 5 / 5

    For all three situations above, consider using a reward chart for young toddlers. Draw a chart and list three to five things you’d like your child do – for instance no biting, asking nicely, taking a nap, and so on, Donus suggests.

    “If your child manages to do all of them, she gets a star for each completed task and earns a nice reward. That said, parents need to ensure that the reward is really enticing to the child,” he says.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)


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