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Psychology Professor: Punishing Children Won’t Go Far

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John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Books have been replete with parenting advice for generations, but the Director of Yale’s Parenting Center says a lot of it’s just wrong.

Lots of parenting techniques are based on word of mouth or tradition, but psychology professor Alan Kazdin says he’s reviewed years of scientific studies in determining that punishment won’t get you far.

“Punishment doesn’t teach the behaviors you want to develop,” what works, he’s found, is a carefully choreographed approach. “You need a praise with some special ingredients. If it’s a young child, you praise something; you’re very effusive ‘That’s great!’ Parents rarely do that. Then you say exactly what it was. ‘You cleaned up your room when I asked. That was wonderful,’ and now you go over and touch.”

Maybe a hug for the young and a high five for the teen with a little less showy praise.

Kazdin, author of The Everyday Parenting Guide, says this method has been proven to provide lasting results.

Corporal punishment, he says anything more than a whack on the fanny every three months, has negative effects.

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