Often times, parents try all kinds of tactics to get their children to maintain appropriate behaviors.
However, many of them are generally unsatisfactory because they do not produce the behavior change that we are looking for in the long term. Let’s learn the technique of overcorrection, A behavior modification resource with great potential to achieve this, with the subsequent joy of parents.
What is the technique of overcorrection?
The overcorrection technique is a behavior modification tool, especially used in children. It is based on establishing the consequences of a certain behavior linked to it.
In other words, if the child in question has stained a piece of furniture with his paints, a valid consequence according to this technique would be to have to clean both this piece of furniture and everyone present in the room.
Hence the over-correction, because he is not only asked to correct the situation that he has generated, but he must over-correct it, extend their behavior to other related items. The goal is to generate a series of consequences which are not harmful for the little one, but which are not desirable.
It is therefore a punishment in the sense of the word corresponding to the technique of operant conditioning. In this context, the punishment would be all that element that causes a decrease in the repetition of a given behavior, and this is exactly what the technique of overcorrection would seek.
This technique would never use any punishment that would threaten the integrity of the child, psychologically or physically, which would in no way be justified, either by it or by any other behavior modification technique. Not only that, but the punishment must somehow relate to the conduct one seeks to eliminate.
Therefore, nor it would be useless, using the technique of overcorrection, to punish by removing the toys of this child who stained the furniture, As these are two completely independent situations and it is difficult to establish a relationship between the two events. Instead, by placing him in the cleansing of this board and extending the punishment to the cleansing of other elements as well, we are showing him the obvious relationship between his conduct and the consequence of it.
Moreover, by using these types of punishments to seek behavior reduction, parents can be reassured that they are not generating emotional negativity in the child, who will not perceive any aggressive behavior towards him.
How is it used?
Although we have already mentioned a few examples, we will break down in detail the different ways in which we have to apply the technique of overcorrection, According to the behavior that we want to eliminate or according to our needs or the possibilities that we have at present.
In this way, one can find mainly two ways of proceeding to practice this technique. They would be the following.
1. Restitutive overcorrection technique
The first modality of the technique of overcorrection is that which seeks the restitution of the damages generated by the bad behavior.. The example that we saw in the first point of a child who uses his paintings on a piece of furniture and therefore his parents impose as punishment to clean, not only this piece of furniture, but many other elements of the living room, would be a good example of this type.
In this way, the child will learn what he has done wrong and what is the way to fix it, going much further, because the restitution is exaggerated excessively, to serve as an operational punishment, it is that is, it decreases the likelihood that the child will repeat a behavior similar to the one that brought him there.
In other words, there is a double function: first, you ask the child to fix the situation, in this case, by cleaning up the paint stains that he had generated. But in addition, by doing this extensive behavior to many other elements, he is put to the test in the face of a punishment that has an obvious connection to what happened but which also extends the consequences, to ensure that it does not repeat itself.
2. Technique of overcorrection by positive practice
But the situation does not always lend itself to direct restitution, or simply the conduct has not caused any harm or degradation, but it must also be replaced by another. In this case, an appropriate punishment may be the constant repetition of the behavior we want to establish, in an exaggerated way.
An example might be a child who just had a snack and, instead of placing the dish in the dishwasher or on the stack, leaves it on the table. In this case, one overcorrection technique might be to ask him to put the dish in the dishwasher, then take it out again and leave it on the table, put it back in the dishwasher and so on for a while. number of repetitions around ten.
The goal is to make the child a link between the inappropriate behavior he has had and the punishment he has been forced to inflict on him, therefore uncomfortable for him but without in any way diminishing its psychophysical integrity.
Usefulness of this technique in the education of boys and girls
Many readers with children will wonder in what kind of situations the overcorrection technique is useful. The reality is that this is a versatile technique that can be used when dealing with a variety of incorrect behaviors on the part of the child. We can use it to eradicate unwanted behavior, bad habits and even aggressive behavior.
Once the behavior we wish to correct is discovered, the punishment will be established immediately, what we have already seen must be directly related to that behavior. What is sought is for the child to turn off this behavior and at the same time repeat the new one that we are proposing to replace the previous one.
Of course, resistance may appear, Since the activity proposed as punishment is not something desirable for the child, so it is easy to appear angry, tears and other reactions with which he will try to show his displeasure and even manage to s ‘escape from the scene. But the role of father and mother must be firm, making him see that he must comply with the punishment accordingly.
Adults can and must show that they fully understand what they are feeling and that they will be by their side to support them.But that does not mean that the child can escape punishment. For the overcorrection technique to be effective, it is necessary to be persistent in applying the repair. If you set a precedent that with some resistance the child can “break free” from the restoration of evil, he will know that there is always a loophole and we will have failed.
A good method is to guide the little one, calmly, in the task at hand, showing him how to do it. Thus, the adult can serve as a model and thus give him the example he needs to verify that there is nothing wrong with what he has to do, but that he must do it so that all is well. You are made to see that you are practicing the right behavior.
Therefore, if the child falls back into unwanted behavior, it can be said, calmly, that he seems to be lacking in good behavior practice and therefore had to do an exercise with which he will continue to learn to act. . This is where the punishment is introduced, in the form of restitutive, repetitive or extended activity, as we have already seen, depending on the modality we have decided to use in this case.
In this way, with a simple proposal, keeping calm and without harming the child, which is essential when applying correction techniques, we will be able to replace inappropriate behaviors with correct ones, these will be those that will be recorded in the minor as appropriate behaviors.
In summary, we can conclude that the technique of overcorrection is a very powerful mechanism to educate children in good behavior, both for the effectiveness it demonstrates and for the way it is approached with the children themselves, who will not feel attacked in any way, no matter what. how much they dislike at some point performing the imposed task, which, of course, won’t be as much fun as the one that caused the situation.
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- Rodriguez, JF, Rodriguez, MD, Moreno, I. (1996). Self-stimulation behaviors: application of overcorrection and reinforcement in cases of mental retardation. Psychology Notes.