It is important to remember not to reward a child or give positive reinforcement for an inappropriate or undesired behavior. For example, if a child is having a temper tantrum, giving him/her a cookie to be quiet is rewarding the child for this behavior. In order to help decrease the chance of unwanted behavior, consider the following:
- Do not reinforce the behavior; simply ignore the child.
- The behavior may have to result in an unpleasant consequence, such as punishment.
- Active punishment has two forms, including the following:
- Denying the child privileges or desired activities, such as decreasing play / activity time
- Having a "timeout"
- The behavior can result in natural consequences. For example, a child who will not eat may go to bed hungry.
- It is generally accepted that spanking and other forms of physical punishment are not helpful. These types of discipline teach the child aggressive behaviors and poor conflict management.