Operant Condition for Child Behavior

Posted by  Kavita Mody   in       11 months ago     7564 Views     Leave your thoughts  

How behavioral theory Operant conditioning can help in improving child’s behavior

B.F skinner (1938) coined the term operant conditioning it means roughly changing of behavior by the use of reinforcement which is given after the desired response.

Operant Conditioning

Positive reinforcement

Responses from the environment that increases the probability of a behavior being repeated.

For e.g. A child has who doesn’t complete his homework on regularly basis at school.

This behavior can be improved by rewarding  him whenever he does his homework. Next time,there are greater chances of child repeating this behavior.

Here, the child has been reinforced.

Rewarding can be in any form like encouragement or appreciating. Just saying “good “ can aslo help at times.

Negative reinforcement

Removal of an unpleasant behavior .

Considering the same example when your child doesn’t complete his homework and you were going to make him write the same thing 5 times. Instead, because he did his homework today on time you’ll not ask him to do the same thing 5 times(unpleasant behavior). Here we’re removing the unpleasant part for the child.


Punishment is defined as the opposite of reinforcement. Since it is designed to weaken or eliminate a response rather than increase it. It is an aversive event that decreases the behavior that it follows.

If a child is not doing his homework for consistent 2 days. Giving him punishment like not allowing him to watch his favorite cartoon would make him feel  bad. So , next time when he thinks of not doing work it’ll remind him of missing this favorite cartoon show.

How punishment Helps

  • Punished behavior is not forgotten, it’s suppressed – behavior returns when punishment is no longer present.
  • Causes increased aggression – shows that aggression is a way to cope with problems.
  • Creates fear that can generalize to undesirable behaviors, e.g., fear of school.
  • Does not necessarily guide toward desired behavior – reinforcement tells you what to do, punishment only tells you what not to do.


Kavita Mody

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