A child’s behavior is very imperative in determining the future of a society; therefore, monitoring one’s child/adolescent behavior enables the parents to track any changes, which would deserve correction. According Chance (2003), behavior builds up into one’s character and therefore, parents play an important role in shaping a child’s character (p.65). Psychologists divide punishment as either positive or negative.
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Positive punishment is the “presentation of a stimulus that decreases the future likelihood of a behavior to occur…negative punishment is the removal of a stimulus that decreases the likelihood of a behavior to occur in future” (Domjan & Burkhard, 1982, p.67). In both cases, the punishment works to reduce the likelihood of future occurrence of behavior. If used appropriately, punishment can eliminate an odd behavior. The only disadvantage is that it takes a great deal of time and energy to implement.
Behavior modification by punishment is very complex. Effective punishment administration is very specific in its order of delivery. Delivering punishment in a state of anger may result in violation of the rules of effective punishment administration hence end up with negative results (Domjan, 1996, p.28).
Secondly, children learn best from copying their parents’ behaviors. However, children may grow to develop aggressive behaviors to cope up with their problems. Punishment works to eliminate inappropriate behavior but there is no introduction of other appropriate behaviors to replace the inappropriate one. The child ends up replacing an inappropriate behavior with an inappropriate one. By default, the disadvantages of punishment far out do the advantages.
Another form of administering the correct behavior is by use of reinforcement, but it can also be negative or positive. Reinforcement is the “introduction or removal of a stimulus that increases the occurrence of a certain behavior in future” (Michael, 2005, p. 219).
Therefore, parents should dwell on the positive reinforcement; for instance, a parent might decide to take a child out upon completion of a certain task. This way, parents introduce an appropriate behavior to replace the inappropriate one hence parents should embrace it. Parents should embrace reinforcement as its advantages outdo those of punishment.
Chance, P. (2003) Learning and Behavior. Toronto: Thomson-Wadsworth.
Domjan, M. (1996). Essentials of conditioning and learning. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Domjan, M., & Burkhard, B. (1982). The principles of learning and behavior. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Michael, J. (2005). Positive and negative reinforcement, a distinction that is no Longer necessary; or a better way to talk about bad things. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 24, 207–222.