Q. Why is it more effective to focus on a child's good behavior than to respond to bad behavior?
A. Studies have shown that recognizing good behavior is the only way to teach a child what you want her to do -- and to lock that behavior in. For example, if you want your child to share and play nicely, and you keep praising her when she lets a friend have a turn with a toy ("Wow! You did such a nice job of sharing your doll with Emma!"), then eventually sharing will become a habit. If you instead punish her for bad behavior -- yelling or sending her to her room when she hogs a toy -- she might temporarily change her ways. But before you know it, she'll refuse to share again.