Violent Acres: How to Train Your Children To Behave On Cue — 5 Comments

  1. it was amazing how the pain cleared my mind. It swept her out of the dark places with a quickness.

    it was what I needed at the time.

  2. First off, V, NO relation to your buddy Ryan (especially as it’s my pseudonym). I agree with many of your opinions, but perhaps I am not quite as extreme. I think that using rewards for good behavior, even in the cases that V describes is not necessarily beneficial over the long-term. I picked up a book several years ago “Punished by Rewards” by Alfie Cohen (he’s got a website too). It totally changed my perspective on childrearing and society in general. He has several main themes, once of which has to do with the evolution of rewards from behaviorism and BF Skinner, who experimented with animals (rats/mice and levers, pellets), not humans. My memory is a bit hazy, but I think Pavlovian conditioning is also addressed. Though their theories work well within a very limited paradigm, they do not extrapolate to humans as effectively. One of the biggest arguments against rewards is that it replaces intrinsic human motivation with extrinsic motivation, which eventually destroys motivation altogether. Anyhow, I find Cohen’s work to be very relevant to this discussion, and though this body of research may not be up your alley, you may well find it very interesting.
    ps My daughter (almost 10) is generally very well-behaved, and I do not offer many overt rewards, though we may ‘celebrate’ good grades or other positive achievements. A very stern look or tone will usually stop undesirable behavior quickly. I know I got real lucky in the kid lottery, so my experience may not apply to everyone.