Effective Parenting

Assignment 1: Discussion—Effective Punishment

One aspect of raising healthy children is understanding how to best provide correction when they make poor choices or behave in unacceptable ways. Over the years, there has been much debate over the most effective form of punishment for children. As part of this debate, you have to take into consideration operant conditioning as this is the basis for how effective correction works. Operant conditioning should be considered when choosing how to best administer corrective actions whether the parents choose to use corporal punishment, time outs, or loss of privileges.

  • Discuss the differences between negative and positive punishment. What are the factors that make punishment effective? 
  • Discuss the effectiveness of corporal punishment and elaborate upon when you think it should be used.
  • Discuss how culture affects the type of punishment used.
  • Give reasons in support of your responses based on your readings and personal experiences.

Write your initial response in 2–3 paragraphs. Apply APA standards to citation of sources.

By Saturday, October 19, 2013, post your response to the appropriate Discussion Area. Through Wednesday, October 23, 2013, review and comment on at least two peers’ responses. In your responses, consider the following:

  • Have your peers accurately identified the differences between negative and positive punishment? Explain your answer.
  • Can you suggest any other factors that make punishment effective? If so, state them.

Grading Criteria and Rubric

All discussion assignments in this course will be graded using a rubric. Download the discussion rubric and carefully read it to understand the expectations.

Discussion Grading Criteria

This week, we are talking about a topic that can be tricky and also has a tendency to be a polarizing discussion in the class. I want to stress the importance of not getting hung up on the positive/negative terminology. Positive should be viewed as addition (+) and negative as removal or subtraction (-). Get away from thinking good/bad. Reinforcement is ANYTHING that will likely lead to an increase in the behavior, while punishment will lead to a DECREASE in the behavior. Check out the graph below to help explain it further. The terminology can get tricky. The key is to avoid thinking good/bad and instead just be specific about the behavior, and whether the behavior increases or decreases (reinforcement/punishment)

Please take note of the graph below. Please note that discussing positive as good and negative as bad on here will result in a point deduction. 

Please be respectful in your posts- child rearing is a very personal issue and we all tend to do things just a little bit differently. When disagreeing with points, please keep in mind these differences and respond in a way that does not place blame on anyone else. 

Positive + (something added, given or delivered)

Negative – (something taken away or removed)

Increase in behavior

Positive reinforcement (usually a pleasant stimulus is added that leads to an increase in a given behavior). Ex: Giving a treat from the gum aisle for behaving appropriately in the store.

Negative Reinforcement- Removing an aversive stimulus (nagging, yelling,

Irritating noise, etc.). Ex: Stopping nagging once child cleans his/her room

Decrease in behavior

Positive Punishment- Addition of aversive stimulus that leads to a decrease in the behavior.  Ex: Spanking to decrease the behavior.

Negative Punishment (Extinction): Removal of a usually pleasant stimulus that leads to a decrease in a given behavior. Ex: Taking away use of the car when coming in late.

I look forward to your discussions!

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