Bribery vs Reinforcement

What’s the difference between Bribery and Reinforcement?


Do you find yourself thinking “Was that reinforcement or bribery?” There is a difference between reinforcing appropriate behavior and bribing your child.

All parents find themselves at the negotiation table with their children and it’s never a one-time deal. It happens all of the time. So, how do we tip the scale in our favor? Not for the sake of winning, but to set our child and ourselves up for a more successful day and future.  Moms and Dads want their children to seek out their own happiness through personal achievement.  So, how do we coach them at an early age to seek out what they want by earning it? First, we must understand the difference between bribery and reinforcement.

What Is Bribery?


Bribery is when you offer something while challenging behavior is happening in an effort to stop the behavior. While this can immediately stop the behavior, it sets up negative behavior patterns for the future.

Example: “I will give you a cookie if you stop crying.”


What is Reinforcement?


Reinforcement is when something is given to a person when a specific behavior or skill is completed. This focuses on rewarding the behaviors you want to see more of in the future.

Example: “First finish your homework, then you can play video games.”


Where Can I Learn More About The Difference Between The Two And What I Should Do In The Long Run?


To learn more about bribery and reinforcement, what is best in the long run, and how to reinforce socially significant behavior effectively, check out Epicenter ABA’s training course: Bribery Vs Reinforcement


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