I’m probably not the only one who gets extremely annoyed when there is a child stamping their feet and screaming in my face. Are they doing this because they are genuinely upset about something, or because they want attention from you? Being a babysitter for the last three years of high school I have experienced an excessive amount of screaming and crying in my face to realize that what they were really crying for attention rather than something I should be concerned about. So what does one do when a child is screaming on the top of their lungs, help or simply ignore them because they are probably just craving attention? If you find that the child is simply making a scene for attention, they are several techniques and strategies one can use.
While I was sitting in Psych100 it was ironic that the topic I was learning about had to do with child behavior which I knew I was writing my blog about. When my professor introduced to us what operant conditioning meant I instantly became interested in the topic because it was something that was relevant to my life. When we talked about operant conditioning it finally made sense to me why the children I babysat were constantly screaming; it was because I gave them exactly what they wanted- attention. However, I decided to use negative punishment on the children. Every time they cried and didn’t listen to me, I took their iPads away from them causing them to improve their bad behavior. Instead of giving them the attention that they “needed” I would then make sure to punish them so that they would gradually stop their behavior. By doing this technique I was removing a favorable consequence in hope that their behavior that they did would decrease.
However, there are negative consequences of using punishment on children. Mainly, punished behavior is suppressed and not forgot; therefore, the children may not act unacceptable in front of me because they know they will be punished but then go and act that way in front of someone who they know wont. It is evident that many kids are going to crave attention especially depending on the age but there are ways to help avoid this mental image children have in their brains that they need all the attention on them.