So what will change children's behavior?
Kazdin and Rotella advocate what they call "reinforced practice" and "positive opposites." In brief, you can encourage desired behaviors by repeatedly eliciting them (or their successive approximations) and reinforcing them as soon as they happen, and you can eliminate undesirable behaviors by reinforcing the positive behaviors you want to replace them with. (See, I wasn't kidding about rats and levers.) Punishment in some forms has its time and its place, but it's rarely effective, and it's rarely the best choice.
These principles don't just apply to kids and to rats. If you want to change your own behavior, exactly the same ideas apply. So if you're hoping to become a better parent, you need to do more than learn some psychology or skim through some parenting books.(And interestingly most of these principles apply to management. You know, if people actually valued the skills related to motherhood.)
I happen to cover a field — politics — in which people are perpetually bellowing at each other to be better....It’s a lousy leadership model. Don’t try to bludgeon bad behavior. Change the underlying context. Change the behavior triggers. Displace bad behavior with different good behavior. Be oblique. Redirect.So there you go.