Motivating children to engage in appropriate or expected behavior is a challenging for parents. Finding the right balance between reward and consequence is not easy. Incentives today for children could change tomorrow, and no longer be effective. New research findings published in the December 2016 Journal of The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry found that depressed children had a reduced response to awards that were introduced. These conclusions were reached by measuring their brain waves using an electroencephalogram machine (EEG). Depressed children process information and stimuli different than non-depressed children and therefore see little pleasure in positive re enforcers.

The depressed children’s brains lack of response to rewards could continue throughout their life. If a child is not responding to rewards and other characteristics such as loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, blunted responses, irritability, and withdrawing, it can be an indication that child is depressed. Depressive symptoms in children can present themselves as early as three years of age. It is helpful to get a professional opinion (evaluation) if these symptoms persist for more than two weeks. click for more