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Calm Your Hyperactive Child by Dr. Sabina Dosani

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36

Intermittent reinforcement

If you’r e tearing your hair out because of your child’s shocking behaviour, a lesson from gambling could be invaluable.

Slot machines and soft drink vending machines both take your hard-earned cash, but deliver vastly different rewards. There’s a lesson in this, and it could change your child’s behaviour.

One of the commonest ways your child’s behaviour is reinforced is by intermittent reinforcement. By this I mean that your child’s behaviour is reinforced or rewarded only some of the time when it is displayed. Because kids learn not to expect their behaviour to get the desired response every time, they learn to be persistent – and problem behaviours can be maintained for a long time.

For example, imagine you put ...

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