In this entry, I will give you some ideas on how to decide whether to use rewards or punishments in a way that won’t come across as bossy, especially when it comes to homework. “Should I use a reward or a punishment?” There is a very simple way to determine this. Ask yourself: Do I want my child to STOP doing something, or START doing something? If I want him to STOP teasing his sister, this would be a stop behavior. If I want him to START his homework, it’s a START behavior.
Key point: It is better to Punish a Stop Behavior and Reward a Start Behavior. For instance, it is better to punish a child for hitting his sister than it is to reward him for not hitting her. It is better to reward a child for doing homework than to punish him for not doing it. So which type of behavior is homework? You guessed it: A start behavior. My book has some great ways to develop rewards that don’t break the bank and use things already important in your child’s life.
Next time, I will give you some specific suggestions on how to be more powerful with rewards. In the mean time, begin tallying the things you see your child doing and put an X next to the stop behaviors and a check mark next to the start behaviors.