Big 3 - they really do work
The big 3 items outlined by behavioral psychologists/counselors/etc. are positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and situational planning. In the answers book Positive is called application, negative is removal, and situational is well pretty much the same name. I've used these 3 in my life and with my children - they work!!! When you do them correctly they really can shape your life and those of others you're in charge of... with some who have special needs it takes longer than with others... but they still have their effect if you run the program.
Naturally the one thing missing is how you do it. If you do a punisher (remember it can be either a positive or a negative reinforcement based on how you apply the reinforcer - if you apply a punishment it's positive reinforcement; if you take away their video games then it's negative reinforcement). Just don't let the terms positive and negative confuse you... THE KEY is to do it without the wrankles of anger and retribution (I'm going to hurt you the way you've hurt or disappointed me). A reinforcer is simple something that sends the message through what it does - so you don't have to do it ....
for instance, when our son was younger he struggled with focusing at school. So homework would get left at school or home, gloves, shoes, etc. would be left behind, and sometimes he'd get up in the middle of class and wander around the room. when we had to leave home for an appointment or church or even school sometimes he'd just sit in the middle of the floor playing with something when we had to be leaving. This used to be so frustrating. I was in graduate school and so had to take him and his sister to the babysitter or my parents while I went to class. I would give him his shoes and socks to put on, go get my last things so we could leave. Upon coming downstairs I'd see him sitting in the floor without putting them on. At first my frustation would come out in anger - sometimes yelling at him. I'd feel so bad afterwards and explain to him that i lost my temper and shouldn't have yelled - my apology had to be seperate from correcting him for his lack of action.
Instead of yelling we developed a list of rewards and punishments. When Tyler would get ready he could have some extra minutes playing his video games. If he didn't get ready then he would lose minutes from the games.. Because we made this contract I would remind him of the contract and then leave him to do or not do it. If he didn't besides missing out on video game time he'd have to walk out to the car without shoes - which could be on hot concrete in the summer time - because the time we need to leave isn't dependent on him putting on his shoes.
After letting the reinforcement be it's own thing a magical thing happened. Tyler's behaviors improved and when they didn't he was the one that felt bad about it. I'd simply have to remind him "you can do different next time and earn that extra time; it's really a bummer isn't it to lose time doing your favorite t hing; I understand and wish you had remembered". I didn't need to feel anger any more. I could empathize with him and be a better parent (coach) in his learning and growing. When we do this to ourself then we can aquire or reduce/eliminate habits in our own lives. Give it a try sometime.
How have you seen it work or not work? What has been your experience with these 3?