How to bring the best out of your misguided kids

There's more to child discipline than punishment, explains psychologist Jeremy Bayer.

Parents and guardians are urged to use positive reinforcement as a measure to foster emotional control, self-worth and inter-personal trust within their children.

Positive reinforcements are tools used to shape and change behaviour. The tools can be both tangible (sweet treats or presents ) and intangible (encouraging compliments).

It's the addition of a positive stimulus that creates the likelihood of continued good behaviour.

Jeremy Bayer, psychologist

Bayer says that anxious parents often overlook a child's poor behaviour because they want to be seen in a favourable light.

He explains that there are certain contexts in which positive reinforcement should be used, cautioning against its excessive use.

Too much positive reinforcement can diminish a child's motivation or create a sense of entitlement and narcissism among children.

Acts of compassion are worthy of positive reinforcement, while politeness and other traits should be seen as the norms, he explains.

Bayer encourages parents to become "emotion coaches" by talking to their children about their feelings and the root of their behaviour.

Never trivialize your child's feelings.

Jeremy Bayer, psychologist

He notes that children with different ages and temperaments may also respond differently to sincere positive reinforcement.

Listen to the full conversation from The Redi Tlhabi Show (with Eusebius Mckaiser standing in):


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