Promoting Positive Behavior in Children


A model family comprises the father, mother, and children. However, families are dynamic and diverse nowadays. For instance, there are single-parent families, which in most cases comprises of mothers and children (Tobin & Sugai 2005). Positive behavior is about respecting others, and this is the pillar on which the general view of accepted behavior is centered. Positive behaviors involve learning self-control and considering the needs of others.

Parents and early children practitioners experience problems with the behavior of children. This is a result of the fact that children undergo similar stages of behavioral and emotional development. Therefore, as they grow up, children have specific needs, which require close attention from their stakeholders (Atzaba-Poria & Pike 2005). For children to grow up and eventually become self-disciplined and independent adults, parental discipline is vital in instilling positive behavior.

This paper is based on the discussion of the modern and contemporary approaches to promoting positive behavior in children, the impact of dysfunctional families on child development and future behavior, the link between behavior and addressing legislation, and the extent of support services to develop and enhance positive behavior.

Historical and contemporary approaches to facilitate changes in behavior

There are various approaches, which are used to manage behavior. Historically, there were traditional methods, which were used to manage behaviors in children and these behaviors concentrated on control. The traditional methods were not as effective as the contemporary child-centered approaches (Appelbaum, Belsky, Booth, Bradley, Brownell, Burchinal, et al. 2000).

For instance, many scholars have shifted from dictatorial approaches of promoting positive behavior in children to approaches, which call for dialogue between children and their parents. These modern or contemporary approaches have proven to be firm, effective, and more respectful between the two parties. Respect is very significant in any code of conduct. Positive behavior is about respecting other people and respecting their environment (Atzaba-Poria & Pike 2005).

Daily actions can affect one’s relationship with other people. This is because people’s actions vary according to circumstances, situations, cultural variations, and age differences. This is why different types of behavior are appropriate at different ages. For instance, if children of 15 years engage in sexual intercourse it will be considered to be wrong morally, but if married adults engage in sex it will be considered to be morally right. The child-centered approach focus on the underlying causes of unwelcome behavior in children, and they have been proven to be very effective in the management of the behavior of children.

The individual approach isolates and denies children equal opportunities like adults, but there have been more recent approaches like mainstreaming in schools, which involve children. When children are involved, it creates a significant link between behavior and language development, which produces children with excellent communication skills. These children can express their feelings as well as plan and organize their thinking (Allhusen, Belsky, Booth, Bradley, Brownell, Burchinal, et al. 2004). Consequently, improper development of the language can lead to frustrating forms of behavior like tantrums.

The social learning theory encourages children to mingle with adults so that children can learn appropriate behavior by imitating adults. This can be related to role modeling, and so it is very important to mind our reactions and actions because children are likely to imitate them (Allhusen, Belsky, Booth, Bradley, Brownell, Burchinal, et al. 2004).

The behaviorist theory calls for the reward of positive behavior. If positive behavior is reinforced and rewarded, the child will tend to repeat this behavior severally hence promoting the positive behavior. The positive behavior promoters include stickers, praises, attention, and cuddles. Consistency of reinforcing positive behavior leads to the repetition of appropriate or accepted behavior (Allhusen, Belsky, Booth, Bradley, Brownell, Burchinal, et al. 2004).

Adults expect the fulfillment of self prophecies and labeling theory suggests that attitudes and expectations of elders toward children influence behavior. Therefore, adults should ensure that they always behave positively when with children in fulfilling this prophecy.

The impact of dysfunctional families on child development and future behavior

Characteristics of a dysfunctional family

A dysfunctional family neglects the particular needs and desires of the child. This family lacks trust and security and has rigid and illogical values and rules. Children in these families lack feelings of love and belonging. They also experience the consistent occurrence of domestic abuse; verbal, physical, or sexual. The family members lack understanding among themselves, and there is the frequent occurrence of dispute and squabbling among members of the family over petty issues.

Moreover, children’s emotional needs are ignored, and in cases of stressful situations, no one bothers to solve the problems (Tassoni, Bulman & Beith 2005). These negative attitudes and behaviors batter and bruise a child’s psychology completely. The implication of a dysfunctional family is unhealthy relationships, which are embedded in the life of a child.

A dysfunctional family can be very disastrous in the development of a child and its future behavior. Every child needs love, kindness, and care from his family during his development phase (Tassoni, Bulman & Beith 2005). If these requirements are not provided, the child can have negative psychological effects in his life. The parents, who lacked care the time they were growing up, do not care much about the welfare of their children.

The unpleasant memories of their childhood keep on recurring in their minds as they bring up their children. The family environment determines how a child will be raised and whether he or she will be a responsible adult (Tassoni, Bulman & Beith 2005). The development of a child can be affected by parental neglect, prolonged deprivation, and insensitive parenting roles.

Dysfunctional families produce children who; cannot express their feelings, are constantly lonely; become prone to hatred, frustration, anger, and depression. They become indecisive and unable to respond properly. These children relate well with everyone around them and therefore, they cannot establish intimate relationships and may result in abusing drugs (Tassoni, Bulman & Beith 2005). A dysfunctional family can destroy completely a child’s future and therefore, children need to be saved from these kinds of families by social organizations, law, and other family members as well as the society at large.

The link between behavior and addressing legislation

Law-related education and delinquency prevention

Law-related education has been implemented in various schools and communities across the world should educate youths about law and justice. For Law-related education to succeed, one should ensure that Law-related education, knowledge, and skills are balanced. The number of instructions should also be adequate to get the desired change and the interactive and institutional strategies. The children and the youths should be given an opportunity to interact constructively with resource persons, administrators, and active members (Anthony, Anthony, Glanville, Naiman, Waanders & Shaffer 2005). If these characteristics are achieved, the Law related education will be well administered to youth and children to prevent delinquency misconduct.

The role of governors

The school governors have been allocated the responsibility of determining the ethos in their schools in regard to matters of discipline. They write and review the statement of the department of children schools. The families call the general principles, which guide pupils on how to behave and relate to other people. The guidance and dissemination of the statement relate to maintained schools, which include nursery schools, special schools, referral units, colleges, and academies. The head teachers are given the duty to develop statement principles into working policy documents in their schools (Tassoni, Bulman & Beith 2005).

The main objective of this statement is to promote good behavior and deter bad behavior. The policy is usually publicized and well explained to staff members, students, and parents regularly so as to be known and be applied throughout the school. The policy clarifies on what is considered acceptable and what is considered unacceptable as well as the kind of punishment that accompanies the violation of the acceptable norms (Tassoni, Bulman & Beith 2005). It is also advisable to encourage positive attitudes and behaviors to promote good behavior.

Right to discipline

Any staff member, who has been authorized by the head of the school, has the legal backing when punishing a child who has failed to follow the school rules. Teachers are supposed to be in lawful control, and have the powers to discipline the pupils unless the head of the school objects to this cause (Anthony, Anthony, Glanville, Naiman, Waanders & Shaffer 2005).

The school head should delegate duties to every member of staff to look after the pupils. The parents should educate their children on their expected responsibilities concerning sanctions and the limits of those responsibilities. The law extends to powers of the head to authorize other adults in controlling the pupils so as to exercise power to discipline. The only group in school, which school heads are not supposed to give disciplinary powers, is the students themselves.

Discipline outside the school

Generally, school rules can be made in a way that they reasonably regulate the pupils’ behaviors outside the school when they are not in control of school staff members (Anthony, Anthony, Glanville, Naiman, Waanders & Shaffer 2005). The school governors must be clear and judge correctly the factors they take into account to guard the behaviors of pupils outside the school. Any sanctions to be imposed on pupils must take place when the pupils are in the school compound (Armistead, Klein & Forehand 1995).

Use of sanctions

The school discipline policy should state clearly the available sanctions and who is given the power of imposing them. For instance, the authority of teachers and lecturers should be clarified so that it will be known when they should punish and when they should refer an issue to a colleague of a senior rank (Anthony, Anthony, Glanville, Naiman, Waanders & Shaffer 2005).

Schools should publish systems of sanctions, which should comprise of; loss of privileges, removal from classes, suspensions, reporting to senior staff, and expulsions among others. There should be clear control of sanctions. For example, it is only the head teacher who has the power of expelling a student from school, and he or she has to follow a designated procedure before he sends the student away.

The extent of support services to develop and enhance positive behavior

Vermont positive behavior

Vermont family network works in collaboration with the Vermont Department of Education to inform families on acceptable behavior and its benefits to children. This body has a decision-making mechanism, which guides the selecting, integrating, and implementing evidence-based academic as well as behavioral practices aimed at improving education and behavior. The body has a guide, which has information for parents and the details of how parents can be actively involved in the process.

Vermont department of positive behavioral support (VTPBiS) has been implementing positive behavioral change, in various Vermont schools. It has invested much in small group interventions, school wide plans, and individual plans (Aguilar, Egeland & Carlson 2000). Schools, which adopt the VTPBiS system, have an environment that engages its students in learning positive behavior. They can control and prevent behavioral problems, are safe, and inclusive; always respond to students’ behavior positively and effectively.

They can also improve the intervention for the mentally handicapped students besides enhancing achievement for its students (Aguilar, Egeland & Carlson 2000). Hawken and Johnston (2008) analyse that VTPBiS reduces chances of suspensions, drop out cases, expulsions, and referrals to special schools because all children get early support within the general environment of education.


There are various bodies like the parent support adviser (PSAs) and family support workers (FSWs), which assist parents to raise their children in a more settled and secure homes and schools. These bodies aim at helping children to overcome emotional, behavioral, and social problems that affect their education as well as their future prospects.

In most cases, these bodies target children who show signs of problems at home through poor school attendance, unacceptable social behaviors, these children are always quiet and withdrawn, do not complete their school homework, do not complete their homework and their parents do not seem to be interested in their children’s studies (Allhusen, Belsky, Booth, Bradley, Brownell, Burchinal, et al. 2004). These bodies work with the service models by engaging parents of children between five to 19 years for about two weeks.

The service providers source information, provide contacts, and find local groups that can assist them in dealing with more complex issues like school transition, relationships in families, and assist in implementing new routines (Allhusen, Belsky, Booth, Bradley, Brownell, Burchinal, et al. 2004). By the end of the exercise, these bodies have witnessed severally improvements in parenting skills and parent confidence, positive relationships in families, behavior at school and at home, more school attendance than before, satisfactory progress in learning goals, gaining of social skills, and reduced levels of harm.

Provincial support behavior group

The provincial support behavioral group was founded in Manitoba in 2004 in order to assist school divisions around Manitoba to develop systematic approaches, which could prevent and address the behavioral concerns in schools (Hawken & Johnston 2008). Enhancing positive student behavior was seen to be the most effective way of supporting schools.

The group took a three pronged approach that incorporated developing a resource web-site for schools that would contain information on the upcoming professional developments opportunities in the area of student behaviors. It would also highlight the behavior initiatives occurring in the province and access to quality screened websites with relevant information on behavior strategy (Hawken & Johnston 2008).

Another requirement was to establish leaders in the implementation of effective behavior intervening strategies in their own local schools. Moreover, they plan professional development opportunities to clinicians, teachers, and counselors in effective behavior support area.


To promote effectively positive behavior, much can be done to reinforce the positive behavior in children from home, school, church, and at the mosque among others. Parents or guardians have the duty of promoting positive behavior in their children by buying books on reinforcing positive behavior and encouraging good communication skills in children.

Parenting is more enjoyable where there is a positive child-parent relationship. Good communication skills build on the self-esteem of the child, and the child develops mutual respect for the parent and other members of the society. It is also advisable to teach children the rules of behavior so that they can know what the society expect of their behavior. This will assist them in growing as socially productive members of the society.

Disciplining a child will involve teaching him or her, self control and how to recognize the acceptable limits. It also enables the child to learn where, how, and when to stop doing things. Children become more able to compromise and negotiate at age three, and at this age the tantrums and stubbornness reduce if they are recognized by their parents and given powers to negotiate. Parents and other stakeholders should monitor every developmental stage of their children.

Reference List

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