The Importance of Catching Kids Doing Good Things


The Importance of Catching Kids Doing Good Things

Many teens are accustomed to negative attention, which is generally associated with behavioral issues. Youth who struggle with addiction or mental health disorders or those in addiction recovery are even more likely to receive negative attention for issues that occur. However, consistent negative feedback can create issues with self-esteem for youth. Catching kids doing good things will provide them with positive attention. This can help to improve their self-esteem and encourage them to improve their behavior at the same time.

As a parent, you can learn how to catch kids doing good things. It is valuable for parents to learn how to respond to good behavior positively while at the same time addressing behavioral issues that are of concern. As you continue to reward good behavior, you are raising expectations and helping your teen by encouraging their continual improvement.

Addressing Kids Doing Both Good and Bad Things

Parenting a teen can be challenging. As a parent, you are responsible for helping shape your teen. This may include helping them manage anxiety and other concerns, and helping them to learn acceptable behaviors. When you are addressing behaviors, this will include both good and bad behaviors. In doing so, you are encouraging the increase of good behaviors and the decrease of bad behaviors.


Negative attention for teens with mental health disorders or addiction is common. This includes punishment. Punishment may vary depending on your parenting style and the behaviors that are exhibited. However, punishment is a form of negative attention. Whether you are scolding or grounding your teen, you are directly addressing bad behavior. This is necessary for many situations. However, it can erode their sense of self-worth, which can cause them to feel as though they are unable to do good things.


While punishment is helpful, rewarding the good things is equally as valuable. Each teen is different. They each have their individual behavioral issues. Additionally, they each have something they are doing that is positive. As a parent, you can watch and notice the positive behaviors they exhibit. It can be as small as helping with household chores or doing well on something in school.

While it will look different for each situation, rewarding good behavior starts with noticing your teen. When your teen is struggling with addiction or mental health issues, their bad behavior can become overwhelming. It may even look as if there are no good things. However, good things can start small. These can include a positive social interaction, a moment of focus, or even doing well with something they enjoy, like video games, art, or sports.

Benefits of Rewarding Teens When They Are Doing Good Things

Rewarding good behaviors has many benefits for your teen. It can help them in the long term by encouraging good behavior, improving self-esteem, and raising expectations for their behaviors. As a parent, you can help them while building a positive bond.


Teens who struggle with behavioral issues often have decreased self-esteem. Continually being scolded or being told that they are doing something wrong can create even lower self-esteem. However, rewards are a way to build self-esteem for teens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rewards not only improve good behaviors but also increase self-esteem. When teens are told that they have done something well, they learn that they do not always do the wrong thing. This will help to build confidence so that they can continue to learn, improve, and do even more good things.

Encouraging Them to Increase Doing Good Things

Rewarding your teen for doing good things can also increase the likelihood of them doing even more good things. Researchers have observed that adolescents have increased reward-seeking behaviors. This is due to the brain development that is occurring. As a result, they are likely to repeat behaviors for which they receive a reward.

While brain development is often associated with increased risky behaviors and addiction, you can use this unique feature of the adolescent brain to your advantage. By rewarding good behaviors, you are utilizing their reward-seeking behaviors, giving them a physiological reason to do more good things.

Raising Expectations

Every teen is different. Your expectations of your teen will vary based on their mental health, capacity, and maturity. However, your expectations play a role in their behavior. When you reward good behaviors and your teen begins to exhibit more and more good behaviors, you are increasing your expectations of them. In turn, you are showing them that you believe they can do more good things.

Your expectations of them make a huge difference. When you show them that you believe in them by rewarding good behaviors, they will begin to believe in themselves. In contrast, always expecting them to do the wrong thing can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. As a parent, you can impact their expectations of themselves; they can learn that they can change and grow regardless of issues with addiction, mental health, or other challenges.

Teens are used to negative attention, especially teens with behaviors associated with addiction or mental health issues. This can erode their self-esteem and cause them to lower their expectations of themselves. When you can remember to catch them doing good things and give them positive attention, you can create the opposite effect of improving self-esteem and encouraging them to raise their expectations and improve their behaviors. At Sustain Recovery, we believe in encouraging teens. We help our clients build their confidence in making changes in their choices and behaviors. Call (949) 407-9052 today to learn more about recovery programs at our facility in Irvine, California. We believe in helping your adolescent grow and improve.