Via E has created two systems, Via Education and Via E Girls, designed to partner with parents to support their efforts to reward and reinforce positive behavior. Via Education pays girls for their “A” papers received in school by giving them discounts to purchase the things they love. They get their own Via Education account number and with each paper submitted their account earns discounts, or Via E Dollars, that they can draw upon to make their purchases. Having their own account filled with Via E Dollars creates a positive rewards system and a sense of accomplishment that complements the reward systems in place at school and home, while at the same time, reduces the cost for moms to purchase the toys their girl desires.
Via E Girl is a forum where average girls share their stories of accomplishment and community involvement. Each girl that applies receives the title of “Via E Girl”, their story and pictures posted on the Via E website (last names and locations are withheld to keep the girls safe), a certificate of achievement, and a free outfit for their dollfriend especially designed to their interests as a gift for sharing their story with other girls. Every girl is exceptional in her own way. Via E lifts up each girl so other girls will be inspired to be all they dream to be. The more confidence girls build in their youth, the greater the chance they will not fall to the pressures of social groups that embrace values conflicting with their own. Via E believes our “average girls” are much better role models fore each other than those provided by today’s media.
We all have established reward systems to help encourage our children to work hard at learning. We offer up financial rewards for grades achieved, praise and recognition by posting those prized “A” papers on the refrigerator or other special place of recognition, perhaps we take them on a special trip—all in the name of conditioning our children to want to produce excellent work. This positive reinforcement is a highly successful technique and has proven to be more successful than other forms of behavioral training such as punishments or negative reinforcement techniques.
Burrhus Frederic “B. F.” Skinner, Behavior Scientist 1904 – 1990, did much research in the field of behavioral sciences and provides a foundation for thinking about the tools and techniques that we parents might utilize in our own efforts. In his work, Skinner discussed positive reinforcement as superior to punishment in altering behavior. He maintained that punishment was not only the opposite of positive reinforcement but positive reinforcement results in lasting behavioral modification, whereas punishment changes behavior only temporarily and presents many detrimental side effects.
The concept of positive reinforcement may also be applied in a negative way through peer pressure. The idea here is when the child acts as the peer group wants them to act, they get the approval they desire. This positive feeling of acceptance can over-ride the short-term costs of punishment in the home for non compliance. Thus we must work hard to surround our children with social groups and systems that are inline with our own philosophies and moralities.
More information on reinforcement techniques: