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why can kids act better when they are punished rather then praised

I have a step son that acts better when you are mad at him rather when you are happy with him . He doesn't take advantage of us if he is in trouble but give him an hour of T.V. back for being good and we are back to not thinking and doning crazy stuff again.


Asked by shayla49ers at 11:20 AM on Aug. 17, 2009 in Tweens (9-12)

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Answers (5)
  • Maybe it is not the punishment that is making him behave, but it is the fact that when you punish him he has boundaries, limits, and expectations. Kids do not enjoy punishment more than praise, but they do crave having limits set and consistent consequences that they can depend on you giving out if he breaks a rule. Keep the praise coming, he needs to hear the positive so much more than the negative.
    Maybe he acts up or does crazy stuff to get attention from you. Maybe he doesn't get much attention from others. Good or bad attention, kids don't care, as long as they get some attention! Set those limits and consequences and let him know what they are, then keep on "catching him being good" and giving him praise before he has a chance to act up. Soon he will learn to get you attention for doing positive things.

    Answer by LovetoTeach247 at 5:19 AM on Aug. 18, 2009

  • kids are always looking for attention rather good or bad. they thrive off disipline. i too can have the same reaction from boys so i take the privilage away again. could be he is testing the limits as my mom says its called growing pains .

    Answer by cat260 at 11:37 AM on Aug. 17, 2009

  • It could also be that he just doesn't need television time. Many children - hyperactive boys especially - will behave poorly after a little TV. Who knows if it's the violence in the programming they watch (Even cartoons have violence!) or just the sedentary lack of exercise while viewing.

    I've heard that all childish misbehavior is a child trying to get the right thing using the wrong method. He wants love and attention, but doesn't know a better way to get it. Try using time outs for discipline (not rewarding poor behavior with attention) then after the time out, give a "time in" - bring the child back to let him show he knows better behavior, and spend quality time with him. Read a book together, play a game, even bake cookies or wash dishes together. And get rid of the TV, or put it in your bedroom for grownups only.

    Answer by LoreleiSieja at 2:15 PM on Aug. 17, 2009

  • Maybe it is because not enough positive attention is paid to him so he doesn't know what to do when he is praised? Kids that are punished all the time, tend to get in more trouble because that is the only time they get attention or they just give up on everything.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 5:26 PM on Aug. 17, 2009

  • Like it or not - we all remember the negative experiences in our lives more than we remember the positive ones. Sad, isn't it? But it's true. Even if we don't like it, or can't admit it. It's the embarassing moments we don't ever want to happen again. It's the sad ones, the bad ones, the dissappointments that leave the greatest impact on us because we don't want to go through that again.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:47 AM on Aug. 18, 2009