How would you know what reinforcement is and how it is different from bribery?

Many people use bribery to motivate their child to do something that the child is not fond of doing but will this “bribery” help in the long run or will you have to keep using bribery to motivate your child to complete a task that they do not prefer? Here is a little summary of what the difference is between bribery and reinforcement as well as how you can use reinforcement to make things at home a little easier for everyone.

Reinforcement: is a technique used to increase the future frequency of a desirable behaviour. An object or an edible that can be used to reward a child for engaging in a desired behaviour or even completing a task that would be in turn difficult for a child to complete, not only because the task is difficult but because the child might just not want to do it!

Any person, whether it be a child or an adult will work harder towards something if they know they are being rewarded for it and even so if what they are rewarded with is worthwhile.

Seeking out reinforces for your child might not be as easy as one thinks. It cannot be something that your child just likes/enjoys/loves, it has to be something you know will change the challenging behaviour to desirable behaviour in the future. There are two types here, we have primary reinforces and we have secondary reinforces.

Primary reinforces are items such as edibles or drinks, these items are easy to give and easy to remove as well.

Secondary reinforces are those reinforces such as toys, social praise, games, breaks etc.

Find out what your child is motivated for at that time when wanting your child to engage in desired behaviour, once you have that reinforcer at hand, use it with opportunities that you know your child struggles with, to motivate them to give their best all the time. Ensure that they know what they are “working” towards, what the end goal is!

Be sure to know the difference between bribery and reinforcement as well! Both of these are very different when it comes to shaping challenging behaviour for the better in the long term and not only focusing on the here and now!

Bribery is when you offer something to someone or promise them something depending on if they do as you have asked.

How reinforcement differs from bribery is reinforcement works on shaping the challenging to behaviour to desirable behaviour on a long-term basis, bribery is a quick method that is often used as a reoccurrence. In the long run, if the reinforcement is the correct reinforcement, the desirable behaviour that you want will occur at a higher frequency even when the reinforcement is not present. We look at pairing the reinforcement with desired behaviour so that the child pairs that “specific” behaviour with the reinforcement that was used.