As parents, we almost instinctively react to our child’s unwanted, negative behaviors. When our child acts out, we revoke their privileges (no more cell phone today), punish them (extra chores), and remove attention (time out). These can all be effective ways to reduce acting out behaviors. But an even more effective way is to also reward positive behaviors. Exactly when the child is doing the right thing, provide praise that is as specific as possible (name the behavior you like). Catch Your Child Being Good. Examples of rewarding positive behaviors:

  • “Great job picking up your toys the first time I asked”
  • “You are waiting patiently while I finish my work, thank you.”
  • “One thing I really like about you is how you pet the dog nicely.”

Tie even and especially your impulse purchases (a small toy, for example) to your child’s past or present good behavior (“OK, buddy, I will buy you that matchbox car. You can have it because you tried your best at piano lessons today and I was proud of you for that.”). In the psychology biz, we call this “intermittent reinforcement.” It is THE BEST way of getting good behavior from your children in the future.