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Using Praise: Positive Parenting Skill

When used strategically, positive reinforcement is significantly more effective than discipline. Praise—a simple form of positive reinforcement—is an excellent tool for managing a child’s behavior.

The Using Praise: Positive Parenting Skill worksheet teaches parents how to use praise to its maximum potential. Many parents have tried using praise, but feel frustrated when it doesn’t work as they had hoped. This handout will help parents avoid common pitfalls, and improve their child’s behavior.

This handout covers five guidelines for effective praise. Each one is written with simple empathetic language, and examples are included when helpful. To begin, the worksheet presents the concept of catching your child being good. Parents are taught to look for small desirable behaviors, in the same way they might notice unwanted behaviors.

To teach parents the effective use of praise, begin by modeling in session. Praise young clients for participating in session, putting away toys, and other desirable behaviors.

Parenting groups, families working on ADHD, or parents learning to manage behavioral issues may benefit from this handout. Although the examples are geared toward children, the points are just as true for teens. In fact, no one is too old to appreciate praise.

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1. Barkley, R. A. (2018, October 23). Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Fourth Edition: A Handbook for Diagnosis and Treatment (Fourth). The Guilford Press.

2. Wolraich, M., & Hagan Jr, J. F. (2021). ADHD: What every parent needs to know.

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