Three other methods of changing your child’s behavior include positive punishment, negative punishment, and negative reinforcement.
Positive punishment is the giving of something in order to decrease an undesirable behavior. A spanking is a form of positive punishment. Even though a spanking is actually a very negative experience, in behavior modification language, positive always means giving. Punishment means it is designed to decrease a behavior. Yelling at your child when you catch him playing with matches decreases the chance he will play with matches again.
Negative punishment is when you take away something in order to decrease a behavior. Taking away your child’s computer in order to get him to stop lying about his homework is an example of negative punishment. Negative in behavior-modification language means to remove something. Punishment here again means to decrease the unwanted behavior. Taking away the car keys when your son fails three classes is negative punishment. You are hoping to decrease his failing grades by doing this.
Negative reinforcement increases behavior because you take something unpleasant away. We have all been trained through negative reinforcement to put on our seat belts in order to stop the buzz our car makes until we have done so. You raise your voice and lecture your daughter about not cleaning her room. She gets up from her video game and begins to clean her room and you therefore stop the lecture. She learns that in order to stop you from yelling in the future, she must clean her room.
Anything you do that increases your child’s behavior is called reinforcement and any anything you do that decreases behavior is called punishment. If you present something after the behavior it is called positive, and if you remove something it is called negative.
The entire foundation of behavior modification is based upon these four forms of intervention and thus you should work to understand them fully.