The ADHD Fix

How You Reward Bad Behaviour

2016-11-07 07:45:05

By Dr. Henry J. Svec


If you have a child who has been getting into trouble at school, you have probably received many phone calls from that school principal.  On those weeks you don’t receive any calls and are told your child has had no behaviour problems, you may have chosen to use a reward such as a special gift or meal.   But what if your child hasn’t learned any new academic skills during that well behaved week?  You have rewarded the wrong behaviour.  Learning is the most important thing.


Now here is a personal example.  Just recently, as I turned 60, I chose to add a life insurance policy.  One of the benefits of doing this is that the Insurance Companies put you through a major medical exam to make sure you survive the term of the insurance.  When my day came, I was asked a number of questions on my health, but nothing about my POSITIVE health habits.  I explained that I was a regular user of and had years of evidence to prove I work out regularly with prescriptive exercise for brain health and cancer prevention.  I even have samples of my workouts from my FitBit, but the nurse didn’t care about that.


I would be rewarded by not engaging in health risk behaviours like smoking, but not for health promotion behaviours such as Prescriptive Exercise.


If you think about it, that is the way our health care system has been for the past 100 years.  If you are healthy and work hard to eat the right foods and stay in shape, you are subsidizing those that choose to smoke, drink excessively and eat at fast food restaurants at least 4 times a week.  Obesity is everywhere, and nothing is being done about it.  Bad health and lifestyle are rewarded with little immediate consequence.  Healthy lifestyles are being ignored and not rewarded.


I think we need to have an opportunity for people who engage in healthy behaviours including verifiable Prescriptive Exercise to receive a financial bonus each year if they undergo a blood or urine test to prove their health.  Verifiable workout data should also be provided.  Those that don’t want to do the testing don’t have to submit to this, but they won’t get any financial bonus.  Life Insurance Companies need to enter the new age of Prescriptive Exercise and how it can actually improve their bottom lines.  As far as my new insurance policy, the insurance company said I had too much coverage, and because I have “White Coat” syndrome (I get nervous around doctors, nurses and medical procedures), my blood pressure was just out of the range of normal.  I could get insurance and pay more, but I chose the treadmill instead.  Makes more sense, and given my blood tests suggest I’m functioning a lot like a 40 year old, I should be good for a while.  Rewarding myself with peanut butter on rice crackers and chocolate almond milk seems to be working.  I also get paid about $1.14 each time I work out.  Now that’s rewarding the right behaviour.