Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 364–385

The Effect of Praise, Positive Nonverbal Response, Reprimand, and Negative Nonverbal Response on Child Compliance: A Systematic Review


    • Department of PsychologyStony Brook University
    • San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy
  • Amy M. S. Slep
    • Department of PsychologyStony Brook University
    • New York University
  • Richard E. Heyman
    • Department of PsychologyStony Brook University
    • New York University

DOI: 10.1007/s10567-012-0120-0

Cite this article as:
Owen, D.J., Slep, A.M.S. & Heyman, R.E. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev (2012) 15: 364. 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.


Child compliance Parenting Praise Reprimand

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012