NDSU Extension Service - Sargent County

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Bribes vs Positive Feedback

Bribes vs Positive Feedback  3/30/18What is a parent to do?  We want our kids to be well-behaved.  We want to encourage positive behavior in them.  How do we do it?

One of the skills or strategies that parent educators and child development specialists recommend is the use of positive feedback.  It is often referred to as “effective praise.” 

How is that working for you? 

How would you rate your ability to give positive feedback and effective praise to your kids?   Maybe you’re a rock star at it.  Maybe not.  Maybe you think, “All this praise stuff is nothing more than a bribe.”

Let’s think about it. 

Bribes are things we do or give that actually reward NEGATIVE behaviors.  For example, let’s say our child is whining for a toy or game or candy or something else at the store.  To get him/her to stop whining, we get or give then what they were whining for.  That’s a bribe.  We just rewarded their negative behavior of whining. From that, our child will learn that whining pays off.

On the other hand, positive feedback or effective praise is a reward for doing things well.  When your child does the things you expect and want, use positive feedback or effective praise.  For example, if she helps out in the store, stays by your side and doesn’t pester or whine for things, let her know with your words that you appreciate her behavior.  Tell her, “I appreciate how you helped at the store.”  That is teaching.  Timing and sincerity are very important.

Unless your child has already grown accustomed to being bribed, and getting a treat or something special whenever he/she does something “right,” your attention and encouragement will be effective.

When we pay attention to the good things our children do and use words to tell them what we’ve noticed, they are likely to spend more time doing good things.  Our praise and affection are ways to show we are paying attention to them.

Contact the Extension office for other parenting tips or your friends, family, co-workers or employees have a topic you would like to learn more about through a presentation, lesson, program, activity or workshop.  NDSU Extension has a lot to offer, and we are here to serve you!

Adapted from “Common Sense Parenting,” by Ray Burke, Ron Herron, and Linda Schuchmann.

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/board-positive-well-done-2470559/ (downloaded 4/7/18)


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