Monday, February 27, 2012

Discipline VS. Positive Reinforcement in Early Childhood

Say for instance you are feeding your child dinner: They are spitting the food out saying they don’t like it even if they loved the exact same food just a few days earlier. What to do? There are discipline actions such as “no dessert until you finish!” or positive reinforcement, “If you eat this then I can give you a dessert when your plate is all gone!” It is all about what you say is what you get. Child behavior development a key to cognitive development and can partly determine the aggressiveness of the child. If you constantly fight with them, they will either fight back (because of being around the environment) or they will become an introvert feeling like they might disappoint their parents because they feel like they are always in trouble.  This can also determine how the child reacts to the disciplinary actions or the positive reinforcement.  The child’s mind is extremely absorbent in the early childhood stage and it is important to focus on the good things!  If a child makes a mess in the living room trying to build a castle for you with building blocks, you should try to focus on the fact that they meant well and calmly explain to them why it is important to put their belongings away and then give them praise when they play with toys again and clean up by themselves!  Positive reinforcement results in changes of brain chemistry or how a child thinks.  This has been proven in Pavlov’s experiment with the salivating dogs. The behavior changes with positive reinforcement. The dog produced excess saliva when he heard the bell meaning there would be food rewarded. A child will act the same way to receive praise from the parents. good behavior then would make more praise. If you were to slip (we are all human) and yell, they would understand that they should not do that anymore because as a child they would not want to be confronted with anger. 

Casey Epps


  1. I raised two natural sons and one step-son, which was age four when he joined my household. My three sons were raised getting spankings. My three sons are upstanding citizens, have not yet been in trouble with the law, are not violent, show concern for others, are slow to anger, do not beat their children, and discipline with spanking as they were taught by me who was taught by my father, who was taught by his father, and you get the idea. I only used spanking in what I saw as a gross waiver from the norm of my teaching. My step-son came to me from an abusive father. For the first four years of his life he was taught he could slap, cuss, kick, pull hair, spit, threaten with knives, and even piss on his mother. His father treated the boy’s mother in this fashion also. She was trying to gain control of this four year old that had all the power he needed from the training he received and the beatings she got. I was taught, you do NOT do those things, so how do I tolerate this behavior from her son? First I talked her and she said if there was anything I could do to help she would be grateful. When the boy would do anything on the list I stated above, the first thing we tried was to explain to him it was wrong and put him in timeout. This method we used for about two months, it did not work at all. There was no reduction of the conduct except for a very short time, most offten hours at best. Next, in conjunction with timeout we took away toys, it did not work. I talked to his mother about good old fashion spanking on the butt, with a belt. She agreed. Now so you understand, I never gave more than three swaps and I used moderate strength. I know I cannot explain the force I exerted, but it did leave a light redness on his butt through his jeans but no bruises and the redness was always gone in 10 to 15 minutes.(I know this because several were right before bath time) It only took about five to seven of these spankings over a period of about two months and we had his attention. The rest of his life, he may have received ten more spankings from age five to age eleven. These were often only when he showed extreme aggression such as hitting the kid down the street with a rock, choking his younger brother, which by the way was actually turning blue by the time I figured out why they had went quiet playing in their room.(Both of these were by the time he was five) The "experts" would suggest that the violence of spanking would escalate violence. Guess what? The experts were wrong this time. This young man, now 31, is an upstanding citizen and treats all people with respect. He has a great job and is well liked by his peers and says please and thank you. He is well groomed and whatever else you might think of as a quality person. Yes my own natural kids got butt whoopins too! They are both in the same upstanding citizen award category as my step-son. My step-son has even thanked me saying, "Dad, I remember how I use to treat mom and if you had not disciplined me, I don't know where I would be now, probably in prison." "Thank you, and I love you." So, read your research and argue over whether spanking is right or wrong. I know from experience and not the experts that when done out of love, not anger, when applied with other forms of punishment which are still punishment just on a mental level, it works just the way the Holy Bible says it will. - Sam Dillé
    PS. There IS impericale research that advacates for mild to moderate physical discipline, so as a resposible Social Worker and/or parent, please do a compare and contrast before you decide that all physical discipline is a bad thing. Do not accept what I think or anyone else who has bias and lacks the abilty to see both sides before you decide. Here is a link to get you started since it wont be provided in class...

  2. I like this bog on effective discipline. I raised my son using the same dicpline that her mother used on her. My mother used the more harsh diciplne on me and my siblings. I vowed not to do that with my children. This was more effective for my son.
    - On behalf of Terry Begley

  3. I do not like to tell parents or caregivers whether or not discipline is good or bad. I think that is up to the parent on how they discipline their child. I feel like they should be educated on the alternatives. As for me and my husband, we did not believe in spanking or hitting. We used timeout a lot. When the girls got older, we started taking priviledges from them. When they did something that was wrong, my husbands big saying was, "Do you know what makes your action wrong?" Then he would discuss it with them. I was always facinated by the way he could talk to them. I used to tell him he was like the dog whisperer.
    Susan Davis