The research funding that is being proposed is to study the effects of positive reinforcement on children. The idea is that if there is more positive reinforcement in childhood then as an adult the habits and conditions of positive reinforcement in childhood will cause there to be adults who react with more positive behavior and therefore there will be a reduction in criminal activity. The idea behind all of this is that by simply teaching children to be able to self manage and understand their behaviors then they will be able to grow into adults that are able to do the same.
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This research is important because it can show ways to help influence people to become healthy and secure adults. There are also implications that this research can teach how to become better parents and how to raise successful and well developed adults.
This research will be conducted by finding families to follow through various types of households. This will include to follow parents who follow the principals of positive reinforcement as well as those who do not. It will be done through observations and interviews and through surveys from the participants. The families would sign up when their children were very young, under the age of one and would agree to be followed until they were eighteen. Then it would be up to the children as to whether or not they will allow us to do further research and conduct follow ups with them into adulthood to see what the likelihood of the overall effects of positive reinforcement are for them as adults.
There are many things that parents do when raising a child and the lasting affects are not always connected back to the childhoods that these adults had. There are many different types of parenting and parenting styles that could affect how a child will grow up and what type of adult that same child will become. In answering the question: “Why does positive reinforcement promote a healthy child?” there is so much information that can be gained about the overall various types of parenting. On the website www.kidsmakingchange.com there are a lot of different approaches to positive reinforcement which they describe as “catching a kid doing something you want them to do and rewarding” (Positive Reinforcement 2006).
In order to be able to see what the benefits and gains from positive reinforcement with children it is necessary to conduct research and follow through with things in a new way. In the book, Other People’s Habits: How to Use Positive Reinforcement to Bring out the Best in People, the author explores how positive reinforcement can affect adults and others that are interacting with an individual on a regular basis. These same principles can apply to children and through this information it is possible to learn new ways to help children to be able to grow into positive and healthy adults (Daniels 2001).
One website that has been devoted to teaching the benefits of positive reinforcement to parents is www.kidsmakingchange.com. The website is comprised of professionals, parents and others who are determined in trying to find a way for positive reinforcement to be encouraged by others and for the values to be taught to the public. The site boasts that positive reinforcement can make children behave in order to get the wanted attention that all children want (Positive Reinforcement 2006).
The importance of the study is to be able to show that positive reinforcement can have lasting benefits into adulthood. After some time in the study and after being able to follow up with adults who were raised as children with positive reinforcement it will be interesting to learn what the effects are and how there could possibly be better performance as an adult for those who are raised in this manner. According to one psychologist, “Praise is the most important parenting tool. It is better than punishment any day because it has more consistent, predictable, positive results without any negative side effects. Punishment…always involves a heavy cost” (Radcliffe 2009).
When looking at positive reinforcement it is important to be able to manage the overall behaviors of the children without these positive things. The best parts of positive reinforcement are that “it builds self esteem and inspires confidence in children” (Gargus). This research would be able to study the self esteem of children who were raised in this environment compared to those who were raised with more traditional styles of parenting and therefore it would be necessary in truly learning about these issues and how much positive reinforcement can help into adulthood.
Some of the arguments that are against positive reinforcement is that it is too much like bribery or flattery of the children however all experts agree that this is not the case and that it instead encourages children to build themselves up to be able to manage their own feelings and behaviors (What is Positive Reinforcement?). The differences between rewards and bribes are that bribes are given prior to a child’s behavior in an effort to get the child to behave where as rewards are given afterwards for the child making the choice on his/her own to behave (Natrajan and Myers-Walls 2003). This research would be able to dispute these types of claims and would give concrete examples as to why this was not the case for the children who were raised using positive reinforcement.
There are so many different ways that one could prove that there is a definite distinction and connection to positive adult self control and the use of positive reinforcement in childhood. In order to conduct this type of research there are many different thing that can be done. This means that the research conducted for this type of thing is to look at various types of research and to do it all through follow up and personal interviews.
Some of the many ways that research will be conducted are through the use of personal interview. Families will sign up as volunteers to be studied. It is not known as to whether or not there will be any type of compensation offered to them for their volunteering at this time. These families will agree to either use traditional parenting methods or to use positive reinforcement as their only form of child rearing. The sample will be collected by advertising for volunteers and it will be mandatory that the families have children who are under the age of one that will be followed in this study. This is so that it can be observed and documented as to what is going on with the child through the various stages of child development and how the positive reinforcement will cause some positive interactions through each stage of development.
Also these families will agree to be followed on a regular basis where they can discuss different aspects of their child’s development and behavior. It will be asked of the families to keep a journal into certain areas of their lives and for the children to be able to be followed as adults will be based upon their own decisions. There will be a sample group that will agree to use positive reinforcement and a sample group that will agree to use traditional parenting methods.
In the end it will be established as to the link that can be found between adult behaviors and positive child reinforcement. I personally will be doing most of the research but I will train others to be able to make some of the observations or conduct some of the interviews in order to have a larger sample size and to be able to maintain the integrity of the study. This information will be analyzed through keeping data records and converting them into spreadsheets by the behaviors that are determined important at each stage of development. This will attempt to put together the various issues and developments that are more prevalent by age rather than trying to set up specific issues to cover the entire time.
The results will be compiled into various formats. Likely there will be a book written after a significant amount of time to compile the studies that were available in various stages. There will be journal articles and reports published periodically and they will follow the various types of changes and the various stages as shown through the research. The book could possibly be a compilation of these articles and how they work together to produce the conclusions of the whole. Another format that could eventually take place would be conferences and/or parenting classes that would be available for parents to be able to learn how to use positive reinforcement as well as the benefits of positive reinforcement and how it could affect their child. These classes would teach the important skills.
In conclusion, being able to research the question: “Why does positive reinforcement promote a healthy child?” is an important question in trying to put together the types of child rearing that will help to raise successful adults. There are so many different areas that are affected by the types of parenting that children experience. It is suggested that children who are raised in a home where positive reinforcement is used will be able to be better self manage and become more successful and positive adults. There are also reasons to believe that there will be less crimes committed by these adults and that these adults will be able to make better choices in their adult lives as they were raised in an environment where they were encouraged to make good decisions on a regular basis.
Some of the other things that come from a child being raised in an environment of positive reinforcement is that the child will be able to utilize better self control and will have higher value of self. From having a higher value of self the child will be able to manage his/her temper better as an adult and will also have better self esteem, higher levels of confidence and overall there is much reason to believe that the child will be a more successful adult (Dreikurs, Greenwald and Pepper 1982).
The research being proposed will be able to answer so many questions about the long term affects of positive reinforcement into adulthood and will be able to help researchers to identify parenting methods that will lead to the most successful adult life possible.
Daniels, A.C. (2001). Other People’s Habits: How to Use Positive Reinforcement to
Bring out the Best in People. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Dreikurs, R., Greenwald, B. and Pepper, F. (1982). Maintaining Sanity in the
Classroom: Classroom Management Techniques. New York: Harper & Row.
Gargus, B.L. Using Positive Reinforcement. Family Educatoin. Retrieved on April 20,
2009 from http://life.familyeducation.com/communication/behavior-modification/29734.html
Natrajan, R. and Myers-Walls, J.A. (2003). Positive Reinforcement and Rewards.
Purdue University Provider-Parent Partnerships. Retrieved on April 20, 2009 from http://www.ces.purdue.edu/providerparent/PDF%20Links/PositiveReinfRewards.pdf
Positive Reinforcement (2006). KidsMakingChange.com. Retrieved on April 20, 2009
Radcliffe, S.C. (2009). What You Praise and Criticize is What You Get, So Be Careful.
Parentng. Retrieved on April 20, 2009 from http://www.aish.com/family/mensch/The_Art__of_Positive_Reinforcement.asp
What is Positive Reinforcement? Growing Well. Retrieved on April 21, 2009 from