A Better Way Than Imposed Punishments

Punishment is based on the idea that a person needs to be hurt in order to learn. This is fallacious thinking—especially when dealing with young people.

When punishment is imposed, the person being punished feels like a victim. Victims take no responsibility for their behavior. In addition, IMPOSED punishments evoke negative feelings on the part of the punished towards the punisher.

A more effective approach is to ELICIT a consequence (or a procedure to prevent future such behaviors) from the youngster by asking, “What should we do about this?” If the response is not satisfactory, then ask, “What else?” “What else?” until what the youngster says is acceptable.

Using this approach, the child is taking responsibility for the consequence. This ownership negates victimhood thinking. NOTE: If the consequence elicited is too severe, modify it before agreeing to it.

Eliciting a consequence is far more effective than imposing one.