This semester I took at behavioural learning class and we learnt a lot of useful things, a few of which I am going to share with you!
We learnt about different ways to condition or train people such as using punishment, negative reinforcement, positive reinforcement etc. I am going to tell you a little about positive reinforcement because it is the most effective at getting the behaviours you want. People respond well to it and love receiving it!
Positive reinforcement is when you reinforce a behaviour (with some sort of reward) that increases the likelihood of the behaviour being performed again. So what we want to do is get our husbands to help us with some house work, or buy more flowers, or be more loving etc. Here are a few tips to get the behaviours you want from people.
Sheldon uses positive reinforcement on Penny.
Firstly, the golden rule - what you reinforce, is what you get!
If you are always picking at your partners faults, or picking up on what they didn't do, you are likely to see more of this. When you say 'you forgot to hang up the washing, again!', or 'will you ever help me with the housework' you are reinforcing the behaviour you don't want. The trick to positive reinforcement is to STOP. Stop nitpicking, fault finding and addressing the behaviour you didn't want to see.
So, step two is to reinforce the behaviours you want to see. This takes ignoring behaviours you didn't want to see and focussing wholely on what your partner or child etc did do that you liked. For example, rewarding or praising your child or husband for the behaviours you liked; 'Honey, thank you so much for _____. I am so grateful I have a husband who is so caring'. Or if they have left their socks on the floor again; 'Honey, thank you for putting most of you clothes in the basket, I am so appreciative when you do this' because the behaviour you are reinforcing is putting clothes in the basket.
You will find that when you start to notice and reinforce the behaviours you want to see you and your partner will be much happier, become closer and it will allow love to flow between you.
Positive reinforcement also is extremely effective with children! It allows them to know what you expect but also gives them the freedom and confidence to try other similar behaviours (this is called generalisation).
For me and Jacob it was really fun and it made us really happy when we began practising positive reinforcement. We were clear on the behaviours we liked and it helped us get closer as we were always being positive reinforcement. I found that Jacob started doing behaviours I reinforced, for example, the dishes more often, and clothes in the laundry etc.
Sometimes Jacob says to me 'you're trying to use positive reinforcement on me again, aren't you??', but honestly, even if they notice its still works... and everyone loves a bit of positive reinforcement in their life. Believe me, it works!
For more information and insight read 'Don't shoot the dog by Karen Pryor.