Skinner concluded that there were three types of operant conditioning.
- Neutral operants: responses from the environment that neither increase nor decrease the probability of a behavior being repeated.
- Reinforcers: Responses from the environment that increase the probability of a behavior being repeated. Reinforcers can be either positive or negative.
- Punishers: Response from the environment that decrease the likelihood of a behavior being repeated. Punishment weakens behavior.
Operative conditioning applies to parenting because children often respond better when they know there will be a reward. Conversely they are less likely to behave badly if they know there will be a punishment.
Operative conditioning is helpful in many parenting situations but it's hard to do sometimes because it's basically bribery. Also it may not be applicable to all situations.