A child’s future can be told by observing his present behavior. Although, changes still happen along the way, numerous traits and characteristics are easily adapted by the child while growing up. The parents become the primary influential factor in reinforcing a kid’s behavior. Every child learns the basic things at home. His habits and his actions are patterned from what he sees around him. It is significant for both the mother and the father to teach things properly. Everything that the parents teach has a big chance of being incorporated by the child into his system. His habits, his conduct and his manners are easily built through the events and circumstances that exist within his environment. “A positive target behavior is a well-defined action that you wish to introduce or increase in your child’s pattern of conduct” (McGraw, 2004, p. 204).
One of the most important things that a parent should ponder upon raising a child is to know what to teach. Not all things are helpful to a kid. For instance, many parents use the “don’t” word more often in guiding children. It usually goes like, don’t do this or don’t do that. As the kid grows up, what sticks into his young mind is the opposite of what he encounters. When he sees a stray dog, the first thing that comes into his mind is to avoid contact with the dog. When he faces a stranger along the path, he evades. While this type of reinforcing behavior can be helpful, it can be detrimental to a child’s mental health. The negative picture of things stays and most often are the first images that projects inside a child’s mind. Finding that dog can be interpreted as unhealthy since the kid is told beforehand to never touch a stray animal. Meeting people can also be registered as dangerous because the child is taught to never talk to unknown people.
“When you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences” (McGraw, 2004). Although, there are a lot of differences in the way a grown individual and a young kid interprets a situation, there is also a similarity between them. Both follow the same system of acting and getting the results of that action. Adults have a many options on what path to take. But children are limited to what they initially know. Most of the situations around are new to the young minds. The development of children varies. Parents must pursue different avenues to help build their children’s behavior. However, because a child has his own mind, developing and training them will be difficult.
Reinforcing a good and proper approach to mold a kid’s behavior needs more than the usual two-way open communication. A child learns more quickly if he gets things done his way. “Children want what they want when they want it and they want it now” (McGraw, 2004, p. 205). Parents usually have a hard time in telling children what to do. It is so because it is not in congruent to what the child actually wants. “Based on human nature, there must be a reward or payoff for your child to actively adopt more desirable behavior” (McGraw, 2004, p. 205). If a kid loves ice cream, a parent should know how to use it as a price or a currency to bargain with to make him follow the necessary behavior.
“Parents, many times a child’s complex behavior will need to be shaped” (McGraw, 2004, p. 211). Successfully meeting the goal of nurturing a positive behavior for a child is also useful for the parents. The right approach will bring positive behavioral results that will be instilled on the young mind in the long run.
McGraw, P. Dr. (2004). Family First: Your Step by Step Plan for Creating a Phenomenal Family. New York: Free Press.