The effect of praise, positive nonverbal response, reprimand, and negative nonverbal response on child compliance: a systematic review

Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 2012 Dec;15(4):364-85. doi: 10.1007/s10567-012-0120-0.


Lack of compliance has both short- and long-term costs and is a leading reason why parents seek mental health services for children. What parents do to help children comply with directives or rules is an important part of child socialization. The current review examines the relationship between a variety of parenting discipline behaviors (i.e., praise, positive nonverbal response, reprimand, negative nonverbal response) and child compliance. Forty-one studies of children ranging in age from 1½ to 11 years were reviewed. Reprimand and negative nonverbal responses consistently resulted in greater compliance. Praise and positive nonverbal responses resulted in mixed child outcomes. The findings are discussed based on theory and populations studied. The authors propose a mechanism that may increase children's sensitivity to both positive and negative behavioral contingencies.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Punishment / psychology
  • Reward
  • Socialization*