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I began writing about guiding children’s appropriate behaviors, and because the subject is so complex, I felt there was a need for a continuation. Previously, I wrote that our ideal goal is to support children’s developing sense of “intrinsic motivation,” or the internal desire to behave appropriately rather than waiting to receive external rewards or punishments. I advised, generally, not to use “sticker systems” or to give children money, toys or food treats for behaving “well.”
However, there are times when a sticker system or incentive program can be beneficial. If you decide to use this type of short-term system with your preschool-aged or older child here are a few aspects to consider:
Most importantly, make sure your child knows that your love is not conditional on their behaviors; you may hate hitting, name-calling or a messy room, but you will always love them!
Richard Cohen, M.A.
Vice President, Education