Appropriate Use of Reinforcement with Combination of Planned Ignoring

Posted on September 27, 2018 · Posted in Parent Tips
  • Using reinforcement in conjunction with planned ignoring will increase the behaviors you want to see and decrease the behaviors you don’t want to see.
  • Reinforcement used correctly increases the likelihood of a behavior occurring while planned ignoring also called extinction will decrease the likelihood of a behavior occurring.
  • Reinforcement can be verbal praise, delivery of a preferred item or activity or an edible. Reinforcement should be delivered immediately after the behavior you want to see occurs.
  • Planned ignoring or extinction is withholding all attention and/or access to a preferred item or activity. This should also be done as soon as the behavior occurs.

Examples of this in action:

  • Reinforcing the undesirable behavior (wrong way):
  • You ask your child to clean up and they begin to tantrum. Due to their tantrum you don’t have clean up. The tantrum behavior was reinforced by allowing your child to escape cleaning up. Your child is now more likely to engage in a tantrum when they are asked to clean up in the future.
  • Planned ignoring and reinforcing the desirable behavior (right way):
  • You ask your child to clean up and they begin to tantrum. You continue to follow through with the demand but do not attend to the tantrum. You may need to give your child a few prompts during the clean up time.  When your child is done with the tantrum, you continue to give the demand or give prompts until the child complies. You give your child attention and praise when they engage in cleaning up. Cleaning up was reinforced while the tantrum behavior was ignored. In the future your child is more likely to engage in cleaning up when you ask because their tantrum did not allow them to escape the task given.