Saturday, June 5, 2010

On "behavior" vs "behavioral"

Elisa doesn't want me to use sugary water as part of the training. Like all parents, she feels her kid shouldn't be hooked to sugar as we are. So I write to the pediatrician:
I would like to feed Dario, about four-month old, with tiny amounts of sugary water. That is, I would rub a bit of sugary water on his lips. The reason is that I am looking for behavioral reinforcers.

Could this be bad for his health? Does it risk giving him an addiction to sugar?
Their reply:
In regards to your email. We would not advise giving sugar water or using sugar water as a reward. In general, we do not advocate ever using food products as rewards for good behavior and at this age we would not suggest discipline or rewards as babies are not able to understand these concepts until 15 months of age. Behavior can be discussed at your next well appointment with your doctor.
I suspect I am in for a long lecture at the next visit. But I am preparing my ammunitions. I will tell them: "Does a puppy understand the concepts of discipline and rewards?" They will call the police.

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