Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Extinction: An Effective Treatment for Tantrums
Tantrums in young children can be a serious behavioral problem for parents if not addressed properly. One of the best methods to stop a child from throwing tantrums is the process of extinction. Many parents find it difficult to ignore a child's pleas, screams, crying and fits during a tantrum but by giving a child attention when he or she throws a tantrum, parents actually reinforce the child's tantrum throwing behavior, making it more likely for the child to continue to throw a tantrum in the future. When a child throws a tantrum, the best action for a parent is negative punishment, meaning that the parent withdraws attention, affection, or whatever else could be viewed as a reward for the child's behavior. This will decrease the likelihood of a child throwing a tantrum in the future. The more times a child learns that he or she will not receive attention, affection, food, or whatever stimulus they may find rewarding, the more likely the tantrum behavior will result in extinction. In this episode of Supernanny, a method called "off the hip technique" is used as a negative punishment for a child with an out-of-control tantrum throwing behavior.