Raising a child is hard, and raising a child who is well behaved is harder. It might be easier if you’re positive about it though. There’s a growing body of research that backs up what many already know: publishing children doesn’t work; rewarding their behaviour does.
Positive reinforcement of good behaviour makes a much greater difference on behaviour than punishment. How do you put this is into practice can be found in an an interview with Alan Kazdin, who also outlines why it’s important to do.
One is gentle instructions, and another one is choice. For example, “Sally, put on your,”— have a nice, gentle tone of voice. Tone of voice dictates whether you’re going to get compliance or not. “Sarah, put on the green coat or the red sweater. We’re going to go out, okay?” Choice among humans increases the likelihood of compliance. And choice isn’t important, it’s the appearance of choice that’s important. Having real choice is not the issue, humans don’t feel too strongly about that, but having the feeling that you have a choice makes a difference.
So now that’s what comes before the behavior.
And now the behavior itself. When you get compliance, if that’s the behavior you want, now you go over and praise it … very effusively, and you have to say what you’re praising exactly.