Behavior modification is a treatment based approach, wherein the principles of operant conditioning are applied to replace undesirable behavior with desirable ones, through positive or negative reinforcement.
These principles of operant conditioning were put forth by B. F. Skinner, an American psychologist specializing in behavioral studies. Basically, behavior modification plans are used to encourage good practices and discourage bad practices by individuals.
Almost all these plans concentrate on positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement or a combination of both. In case of positive reinforcement, rewards are given to individuals for indulging in some desirable activity, so that he/she is coerced to do the same.
In case of negative reinforcement, on the other hand, the individual is punished for indulging in some undesired activity, so that he doesn't repeat the same. A plan for adults is bound to be different from the same for students or children.
Here, the former will concentrate more on discouraging unwanted behavior by means of negative reinforcement, while the latter will stress more on discouraging it by means of positive reinforcement.
How to Create an Ideal Plan for Your Child?
Though it isn't very difficult, you will have to put in some efforts and be patient when trying to prepare and implement any such plan. In case of child behavior modification, the approach should stress more on positive reinforcement. One should consider the crucial factors, such as the age and reading ability of the child, when implementing these plans.
The first step will be to identify the undesired behavior that have to be removed, and/or the desired behavior which need to be inculcated. Then you can decide on the system of rewards or privileges for exhibiting good behavior. It would be better if the reward is something that your child is looking forward to.
Make sure that you introduce the plan with the least number of rules or conditions. Keep the plan as simple as possible, so that it becomes easier for the child to understand what is happening. And last, but the most important thing is to ensure that there is consistency in following it.
Praise and Approval Method
Another efficient method of modifying a person's behavior is the praise and approval method, wherein the desired behavior is encouraged as and when the child demonstrates it, instead of coaxing the child to go for it. Whenever a child goes for a positive action or a desirable activity, these actions are acknowledged with praises or smile indicating approval.
One should also keep in mind that every child is different and hence, there can't be a single behavior modification plan for all the children. For instance, the behavioral plan for ADHD will obviously differ from the techniques for normal children, and hence won't be ideal for them.
You will have to customize the plan according to the requirements of your child. One should also take a note of the fact, that there should be a limit for use of such methods of behavior modification, or else it may encourage the child to look forward to rewards even when doing the basic day-to-day things.