Why Children Behave the Way They Do: Article 3C By Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.

Article 3C: When Punishment and Corrective Consequences Don’t Work By Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.

You may be thinking right now of how you have repeatedly punished or corrected your children for certain things that they do, but somehow they keep right on doing those things anyway. How can that happen? I really don’t know the details as to what forms of punishment and correction you use and what behaviors you choose to punish, but I can offer you a few educated guesses.

First of all, there may be a good chance that your child will simply not get caught misbehaving. Children are usually very aware of what behaviors are likely to bring punishment, but they are also very aware of how likely they are to get caught at them. Of course, if they don’t get caught, they don’t get punished. It’s as simple as that.

“O.K.,” you may be saying, “but what about those things he does right under my nose? He knows I’ll notice it and punish him for it, but that doesn’t seem to stop him. How do you explain that?” That brings me to my second educated guess.

Certain behaviors may have both positive and negative consequences. If younger brother has been teasing older brother unmercifully all day long, older brother might suddenly find it very positive to land a few punches on him. Even though older brother knows you will punish his fighting, the sheer delight of revenging himself on his younger tormenter, as well as the benefits to his peace of mind for having brought that teasing to a halt, may be well worth the cost of enduring any corrective consequences his parents hand out to him. In other words, if a behavior continues to occur, despite the fact it is often and perhaps severely corrected, there are probably some powerful rewards serving to maintain that behavior.

Let’s look at yet another example of how this works. Little Darlene feels that she hasn’t been getting enough parental attention these days. She has tried hard to please her parents, but it seems that they just never notice when she is behaving appropriately. It won’t take her long, however, to figure out that misbehavior will get her all the parental attention she can handle. Since negative attention is often better than no attention at all, it won’t be surprising if Darlene soon becomes a consistent behavior problem. All this because no one took the time to reward her good behavior with positive forms of attention.

You see, kids want their parents to notice them, and, in the long run, most of them would rather be corrected than ignored altogether. Clinic files are filled with cases of children who simply wanted parental attention and resorted to unacceptable means to get it. Many parents don’t realize that they have the power to improve relationships with their children simply by effectively giving them attention.

With information from this Series of Articles, the next step is to be sure that you are giving children as much attention as possible in loving and consistent ways.

All of the Parent Training Programs that CICC offers show you numerous ways of conveying positive and consistant attention, all of which will reduce the need to use corrective consequences. The Programs also provide many ways of using corrective consequences which do not involve the use of physical force, i.e., non-violent corrective consequences.

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Click here to learn more about and how to obtain the Instructor Kit of each Program or just the Parent Handbook of each Program.



One thought on “Why Children Behave the Way They Do: Article 3C By Kerby T. Alvy Ph.D.

  1. I’m a beginner in CICC and thank you so much for the article, i really enjoyed reading them.
    The six instructional methods to built up each other, giving an effective way to teach and motivate children.
    Sometimes motivating your children is as easy as changing the material you are using. Sometimes children are turned off by the style or approach of certain curriculum.
    Bringing a different perspective into them will reengage your children who are turned off by your current materials. In Addition, It will challenge those who are already seeing success from the assigned curriculum.

    Providing your children with Accountability is an important element of being a good parent.
    Without the idea of a deadline and grade, many children would never have the self-motivation that is required to successfully learn a language. Be clear with your children when you tell them your expectations. make sure they know the deadline for a project’s completion and what standards you will use to assess that project. You may also consider contracting grades with your children who are at more advanced levels. when you contract grades, your children sign a contract which outline the requirements to receive an A A and A B. Do not give option for lower grades. The children selects which grade he or she will receive in the class and then must complete those requirements satisfactorily. From the start of class, your children know what they need to accomplish, and they know that their success is completely dependent upon themselves. This will get them to be self motivated learners and help them engage themselves in the learning process.

    Finally, consequences of certain actions can also be a motivator to children. Make your expectations clear, and communicate to your children what the consequences will be to certain behavior or work ethic. No one likes to be punished, but when positive reinforcement and lively change ups do not work, and sometimes there has to be negative consequences to your children actions. Keep your children after school if you have to, if possible and when necessary. Discipline should be a last resort motivator and only used sporadically

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