MSU Study: Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement in Parenting

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MSU Study: Positive vs. Negative Reinforcement in Parenting

CREATED Aug. 17, 2012

For parents, when it comes to disciplining kids, positive reinforcement may be better than negative, according to a new study from Michigan State.

Michigan State University researchers wanted to know: just how often do parents or caregivers resort to spanking to discipline kids. The researchers covertly camped out to study parents and their kids in public places.

They found that nearly one in four parents settled disputes with their child by hitting, spanking, or some sort of physical contact. But they found that kids disciplined with positive touch, like hugging or gentle patting, were more likely to comply more often than those punished by negative touch.

And listen to this: men were more likely to engage in positive touch. Whether you're pro or anti-spanking, the experts at Web-MD have a few tips for encouraging good behavior from kids.

Establishing discipline: be clear about consequences, be respectful, be consistent.

First, be clear about the consequences of bad behavior. Like "if you choose to hit your sister, you'll lose videogame privileges tonight."

Next, be respectful. In other words, behave the way you want your child to behave.

Finally, be consistent. Any technique will fail if you don't follow through by enforcing consequences.

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